World News – 04 April 2008

- Advertisement -

NZ drought costs millions

According to forecasts, New Zealand’s national drought will cost dairy farmers NZ$894 million and beef and sheep farmers $345 million this financial year. T hat works out as NZ$25 200 for the average sheep and beef farm and NZ$79 400 for the average dairy farm. Farmers are beginning to sell off their breeding stock in a bid to survive as the drought deepens. Livestock dealers say the number of animals for sale at this time of year is unprecedented, and it isn’t a case of cashing in or selling off to make a quick buck. Lambs that usually earn NZ$60 when sent to freezing works, were fetching just NZ$10 on average, and the sale yard commission and transport charges left no return for the farmer. – Alan Harman

France to push for extension of EU subsidies

France is expected to push for the further entrenchment of trade-distorting agricultural subsidies when it ascends to the six-month presidency of the European Union (EU) on 1 July this year. Wrapping up the current “health check” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be a major item on its agenda. “France wants to make the CAP subsidies a lasting feature of the EU,” said a European Commission official. Despite amendments to the EU’s controversial CAP and skyrocketing crop prices worldwide, Europe’s farm subsidies for 2007 still amounted to €54,7 billion. Britain and other countries have long disputed the claim that subsidising farms is necessary for European agriculture to flourish. However France believes it’s only fair that producers are financially supported because strict and costly traceability and hygiene standards are forced onto them. African states have been agitating against the EU and US’s subsidies for many years, as the overproduction they cause distorts world prices and leads to the dumping of commodities on African markets. – IPS

- Advertisement -