Europe should not underestimate its role as an agricultural powerhouse, but it needs to focus on areas of weakness including access to natural resources, according to a unique report into where global agricultural power lies commissioned by the Oxford Farming Conference, sponsored by Massey Ferguson.
“Europe currently ranks respectably for political, corporate and trade power but is vulnerable in the long-term to the availability and control over natural and mineral resources,” Oxford Farming Conference chairman Cedric Porter said.
“If the European Union is to continue to punch above its weight on the global agricultural stage it will need to strengthen output – it is vital for farming and for our future food security. The report shows us that Europe as a whole still retains historical influence in global agriculture, but with exporting nations such as China, Russia and Brazil coming up the ranks, the food and farming industry will need to act with policy to retain our strong position.”
“The whole of the food industry also needs to ensure that the relationship between corporations and farmers is a successful and balanced one. Europe, and in particular the UK, has a disproportionate concentration of large trans-national corporations (TNCs) based here which in global terms can be seen as a positive since those organisations are powerful when it comes to decisions that affect agriculture and food. But while that, continues to give international influence, it does not necessarily translate into an improved position for our farmers or the agri-food supply chain.”
Who’s in control of the supply chain?
- Four companies account for between 75% and 90% of the global grain trade
- 10 companies are responsible for over 40% of the global retail market
- Seven companies control virtually all fertiliser supply
- Five companies share 68% of the world’s agrochemical market
- Three companies control almost 50% of the seed market
Commenting on the report, Richard Markwell said: “Massey Ferguson is well-poised to help meet the challenges facing European farmers, given the company’s mission to provide straightforward, dependable machines designed to help farmers cut costs and maximise productivity.”
The report, written by the Scottish Agricultural College, pulls together a vast array of recent research into an unrivalled and uniquely authoritative document which the OFC hopes will be used by farmers and interested groups to lobby in order to keep the Europe at the top table.
To view a video of the Oxford Farming Conference, click here:
For a full copy of the paper, click here: