21st Mar 2018

Global maize price hike impacting EU livestock

  • Global price increase of maize is having an impact on EU livestock farmers. (Photo: caese)

The United Nation's agency for Food and Agriculture (FAO) says the recent spike in the price of maize and soja is causing problems for the EU's animal feed sector.

"We already see that the prices of the feed sector is rising and in fact there are a lot of problems already with the livestock sector. Some of them are already speaking about erecting some kind of assistance in the dairy sector," Concepcion Calpe, an economist at FAO, told this website from Rome on Tuesday (14 August).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The agency noted earlier this month that a "severe deterioration of maize crop prospects in the United States" caused by drought has increased prices by almost 23 percent in July.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the crop conditions for maize and soybean are the worst in 24 years.

Calpe said it was too early to evaluate the price impact on every day consumers in the EU but any cost increase would eventually be passed through the food production chain and reflected at the supermarket.

She also noted that while price hikes are a cause for a concern they could not be qualified as a "crisis" on the scale that ravaged food supplies and caused riots in some developing countries in 2007 and 2008.

"The price can go higher if there are further supply shortages but a lot of the spike that we saw in 2007 and 2008 was also the making of the politicians and of the press that really generated some of the panic," said Calpe.

The impact of any future price increase on globally traded food stuffs should also be mitigated by government "safety nets" put in place since the last crisis, according to the FAO.

Calpe noted that indigenous foods such as cassavas and maniocs consumed in developing countries are vital to their food security. Such foods are not necessarily affected by steep price fluctuations of maize.

For its part, the European Commission told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday that the increase of prices, aside from maize and soja, has not occurred in other cash crops like rice.

"As far as households are concerned, at this stage there should not be any real impact. If any impact were to be noticed, it would be delayed, mainly because those two crops represent a very small percentage of what European households buy in the supermarket. Most of it is used for an ingredient in other food products," said European Commission spokesperson Patrizio Fiorilli.

Fiorilli told reporters that a meeting among the G20 rapid response forum is already scheduled for October. The forum is tasked to instigate discussions among decisions makers whenever abnormal fluctuations in global food prices occur.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that the G20 leaders are planning a conference call before the end of the month to coordinate a meeting in response to the soaring prices.

The EU animal feed sector is highly dependent on agricultural commodities imports. The EU imported 33 million tonnes of soja and 4 million tonnes of maize in the 2008 and 2009 season.

Most of the feed is imported from Brazil, Argentina, and the United States.

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

EU insists on US tariffs exemption

Europe is "an ally, not a threat", the EU Commission says - as the US is poised to impose duties in steel and aluminium. Common action on Chinese steel overcapacity could help diffuse the crisis.

Trump starts countdown to EU trade war

EU sales of steel to US to face 25 percent tariff from 23 March, with Europe to hit back on motorbikes and bourbon in looming trade war.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders expected to approve Brexit future talks guidelines
  2. Tusk: EU must 'continue to engage' with US on trade
  3. European elections set for 23-26 May 2019
  4. EU tries to find common candidate for top UN food job
  5. Facebook post triggers Norway no-confidence vote
  6. Merkel: 'no reason' to sanction Schroeder for Russia support
  7. MEPs and Council strike deal on posted workers' rights
  8. EU parliament to investigate Facebook data 'breach'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverHiring - Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience - Apply Now!
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?