Farm income figures from Eurostat, the EU’s official statistics body, show that many EU member states saw significant falls in farm incomes during 2015.
Defra’s first estimate of the Total Income from Farming in 2015 measured a 29% drop in average farm incomes across all enterprises to £3.78 billion, when compared to 2014. The NFU describes it as the biggest fall since the turn of the century.
The Eurostat figures show an average 4% farm income fall in real terms across the EU in 2015. However, this masks a wide range. There was a 26% drop in Germany, with Denmark falling by 19.7%, the UK by 19.3%, Romania 17.9%, Bulgaria 12.1%, Finland 11.6%, Poland 8.9%, Hungary 6.3% and the Netherlands just 0.8%.
“These findings confirm the bad situation hitting EU farmers who find themselves facing low market prices and high input costs,” notes Copa-Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesone. He lists the Russian ban on EU food imports, the collapse in oil prices and a slowdown in the growth of Chinese demand and reasons for the deflation.
“A priority for the EU must be to re-open the Russian market, but we realise that with deterioration in the Russian economy, demand will not be the same as it was,” he continues. “The EU Commission must consequently step up its efforts to find new export markets and boost promotion measures, while member states must ensure that aid from the package agreed last September is paid out - only 50% has reached farmers until now, with a June 2016 cut-off. It is also time to start reflecting on the future CAP post 2020, to enable it to respond better to farm market crises in a sustainable manner.”