|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
16. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the value of food and drink exports from the UK to the European Union in the past three years. 
25 May 2000 : Column: 639W
17. Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what forecasts his Ministry has made for the economic prospects of the organic farming sector over the coming year. 
Mr. Morley: Estimates made by the organic sector itself indicate the size of the retail market for organic food to have been just short of £400 million in 1998-99 and project its growth to £1,500 million by 2002-03.
Jackie Ballard: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farms (a) with registered organic status and (b) in the process of conversion to organic status are likely to lose that status due to the presence of genetically modified crops nearby in the next year. 
I announced plans for a major expansion of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme on 7 December. Over the next seven years, spending on agri-environment schemes will double. Of the £1 billion to be allocated during this period to these schemes, £500 million will be for the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The extra money will bring the total budget in 2000-01 to over £35 million, rising to £126 million in 2006-07. Initial predictions are that when this year's application round closes on 31 May, we shall be able to accept around 3,000 new agreements, more than double the number in 1999.
Ms Quin: Once the reform has been fully implemented, and provided price reductions are passed on in full to retail, food retail prices will be 2 per cent. lower than otherwise, equivalent to 0.25 per cent. off the All Items Retail Prices Index.
Ms Quin: Agenda 2000 represents a very good deal for our producers. We forecast that, compared with the position in the absence of Agenda 2000, incomes on cattle and sheep farms will increase once all the reforms are implemented.
25 May 2000 : Column: 640W
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from his counterparts in non-EU OECD nations in regard to the outcome of the Agenda 2000 negotiations on CAP reform, stating for each nation the nature of its reaction. 
Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 22 May 2000]: Since the adoption by the European Union of the Agenda 2000 CAP reforms I have met Ministers from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. They were generally supportive of the direction of CAP reform achieved in Agenda 2000 but would have preferred it to have gone further.
Mr. Nick Brown: The Agenda 2000 agreement takes us a significant step closer to securing a more competitive and sustainable industry with a stronger market orientation. It lays down the foundation for a new European agricultural and rural development framework in which lower levels of direct support for agricultural production will be complemented by higher levels of targeted assistance for sustainable rural development. The UK is implementing modulation to bring about a limited shift from production support towards rural development measures within this framework.
Ms Quin: The Action Plan for farming announced on 30 March indicated that we would be paying around £22 million in agri-monetary compensation to dairy farmers this year. It also included the removal of dairy hygiene inspection charges in England. Dairy farmers will also benefit from the lifting of the maximum weight limit on payments under the over-thirty-months scheme from 5 June. In addition my right hon. Friend the Minister announced last autumn the deferral of cattle passport charges worth some £12 million in total to dairy farmers.
Mr. Morley: The Government wish to maintain key features of the present arrangements such as national quotas based on relative stability and access restrictions within national 6/12 mile limits. At the same time, we want to secure improvements to the Common Fisheries Policy including enhancing the regional dimension and integrating environmental considerations more fully.
25 May 2000 : Column: 641W
Mr. Morley: The Irish Sea cod recovery programme demonstrates the benefits of a regional approach which involves fishermen directly in developing fisheries management measures affecting them. We were instrumental in securing Commission and Council agreement to this. It indicates the direction in which we want the Common Fisheries Policy to develop.
27. Joan Ruddock: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the implications for animal welfare of further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products. 
Ms Quin: The Government's objective is to achieve agricultural trade liberalisation alongside reductions in production-related support. The relationship with farm animal welfare is complex and varies within and between sectors. However, the guiding principle is that liberalisation should be achieved in a way which takes account of animal welfare along with other non-trade concerns.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evaluation the Government have made of the use of the Green Box of the World Trade Organisation Agriculture Agreement to compensate farmers for the extra costs of Britain's animal welfare standards. 
Mr. Nick Brown: The Government are pressing for the relationship between farm animal welfare standards and trade rules to be addressed in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). One of these ideas we are currently examining is permitting payments made to offset additional costs associated with farm animal welfare requirements to be included in the "Green Box" under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. The effect of this would be that any such payments were not included in the aggregate measure of domestic support which is subject to reduction commitments.
25 May 2000 : Column: 642W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|