Hogan to propose the introduction of risk management tools tomorrow

The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, is to endorse the role of risk management tools as a means of getting to grips with volatility at farm level tomorrow.

It is understood that the Commissioner will use his presentation at tomorrow’s Agricultural Outlook Conference in Brussels as the vehicle to launch this formal proposal.

A Commission source has said that Hogan recognises the fact that the impact of volatility has had a very depressing effect on EU farm incomes and producer morale.

“Commissioner Hogan will push for far-reaching measures that will directly tackle the challenge the impact of volatility on farmgate prices.

“It’s not just dairy farmers who have been affected. Producers in all sectors have felt the brunt of volatility. The Commissioner wants this issue addressed in the context of a CAP review process.”

The proposed solutions will entail a fundamental review of the EU’s entire agrifood chain, including the role played by food retailers.

It is envisaged that Hogan will also outline his proposals on CAP modernisation and simplification, courtesy of his input to the agri outlook event.

The Commission source confirmed that the conference will be critically important in determining the farm policies enacted by Brussels over the next 12 months.

“CAP reform is pretty much a continuous process. But Commissioner Hogan will be making it very clear that he wants to establish clear guidelines now around which the CAP that is enacted beyond 2020 will be shaped.

“He wants real change and the adoption of new policies that will have a direct and lasting effect on-farm.”

This week’s outlook conference will have no direct bearing on future CAP budgets. Normally, the matter is dealt with formally, courtesy of the Multiannual Financial Framework process.

But the future of the EU’s finances may well be a major talking point in Brussels this week. This follows the comments made by a number of UK Cabinet ministers last weekend, to the effect that a payment of some form would be made to Brussels, post-Brexit, to ensure continuing British access to EU markets.

The source said that this would be similar to the arrangement already entered into with Norway and Switzerland as both countries pay to secure EU trading access.

“The significance of last weekend’s comments by the likes of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is that an ongoing financial contribution from the UK would ease the pressure on the remaining 27 Member States, regarding their future funding contributions to Brussels post-Brexit.”

The IFA has confirmed that the organisation’s President Joe Healy will be attending the outlook conference on Wednesday. The organisation’s chief economist Rowena Dwyer will also be participating in one of the discussions.