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Difficult year ahead for German farmers

by 5m Editor
6 February 2003, at 12:00am

GERMANY - German consumer protection minister Renate Kunast (Green party) predicts that the current year will again be difficult for German farmers owing to the general weakness of the economy.

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Pork farmers, especially, are expected to be hit by falling prices. Ms Kunast has vowed to do battle with the practice of price dumping, although German chancellor Gerhard Schroder still expresses the view that the market and consumers should determine prices.

Germany's full-time farmers saw profits for business year 2001-02 (to June 30) down by an average of 6.6 per cent to 33,593 euros, and Ms Kunast fears that a further drop of between 15 and 20 per cent may be possible for 2002-03.

A pleasing harvest for 2001 led to higher income from fruit, vegetables and arable crops for 2001-02, but, on the negative side, expenses for pesticides, herbicides and cattle feed increased particularly strongly.

Average income for farmers fell by 6.1 per cent to 21,763 euros. While, altogether, 4 per cent of around 395,000 farms in Germany ceased operations, the number of organic farms rose by 15.4 per cent to 14,700 in a year-on-year comparison.

Source: Abstracted from Die Welt - FT Information via COMTEX - February 2003
Copyright 2003: Financial Times Information. All rights reserved

5m Editor