European agricultural co-ops call for urgent support as weather hits crop yields

Copa and Cogeca say that many farmers will not be able to cover their production costs, which have been hit by soaring inflation

Copa and Cogeca, which represent farmers and co-ops in the EU, have launched call for urgent action to support producers affected by poor weather conditions.

The two apexes warn that the situation is extremely worrying when it comes to cereal, with an expected production of 256 million tonnes, and farmers predicting possibly the worst harvest since 2007 and 10% below the last five-year average. 

With droughts across all the EU in May and June, forecasts have worsened. Copa and Cogeca say many farmers will not be able to cover their production costs. Several countries are facing considerable reduction in production, with Copa and Cogeca estimating the most affected to be Spain, Portugal, or Italy with up to a 60% reduction compared to 2022). States like Romania (-20%), Finland (-30%), Poland (14%) and Lithuania (-35%) will also be affected, added Copa and Cogeca, with reductions between 14 and 35% compared to the May forecast.

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Low production is not the only worry for co-ops, which are also affected by inflation, particularly in terms of high input costs and energy prices. Copa and Cogeca argued that the current low futures (derivative financial contracts that obligate parties to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined future date and price) prices for cereals (€219/tonne of milling wheat) and oilseeds (€407/tonne for rapeseed) creates a situation that is untenable for most farmers.

In response to these forecasts Copa and Cogeca are asking the European Commission for flexibility in the implementation of the CAP this year and derogations for next year. The two apexes would also like to see the the prolongation of the suspension of import duties on ammonia and urea and its extension to other mineral fertilisers (as well as suspension on antidumping measures on UAN), arguing these measures would “help farmers cope with a very difficult situation where they are being squeezed from all sides”.