Real agricultural incomes are down 4.3% across the EU. That’s according to first estimates issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Across the EU Member States, real agricultural income per worker in 2015 is expected to have risen in thirteen Member States and fallen in fifteen compared with previous year.
Most noteworthy is the huge drop in Europe’s powerhouse economy Germany. There’ real farm incomes have dropped by almost 40% in a single year.
The biggest falls in income occurred in Germany (-37.6%), Poland (-23.8%), Luxembourg (-20.0%), Denmark (-19.7%), the United Kingdom (-19.3%) and Romania (-19.2%).
Of those that registered increases, the highest farm income increases are in Croatia (+21.5%), Latvia (+14.3%), Greece (+12.1%), France (+8.8%) and Italy (+8.7%).
The overall decline in agricultural incomes continues a trend of earnings’ decline: form 2010 to 2015, the overall decline is 5.7%. Again, Germany stands out, with a huge decline from 2010 to 2015 of 35.2%.
Slovakia, Hungary and the Czeck Republic have seen recent reversals in farm income: having grown from 2010, the 2015 stats show each of these to be declining sharply. Belgium, Croatia, Latvia and France, on the other had, have seen declines reversed.
These startlingly poor figures for Germany in part explain why this coming Wir Haben Es Satt’s protest’s focus is on protecting farmers and farm incomes, especially in light of the milk crisis. More typically seen as an anti industrial farming event, this year the emphasis is also on farmers, because there is no future without farmers.
There have also been protests today in Luxembourg over falling farm incomes, especially in dairy. See also the European Milk Board’s upcoming event Phil Hogan – is his position tenable?
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC
On the 17th April 450 farmers demonstrated in the global day of action across Germany against TTIP (The EU-US free trade agreement) and genetically engineered crops. They marched together under the slogan of ‘TTIP and Gentechnik, bleibt uns vom Hof [TTIP and genetic engineering stay away from our farmers]’. The demonstation, organised by the AbL (Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft), sought to emphasise how the TTIP would threaten the livelihoods of farmers and would pave the way for the introduction of American produced GMOs. Find more information at: www.abl-ev.de