EU market observatory to bring transparency on crops

A new market observatory for crops has been launched by the European Union to bring greater transparency and analysis to a key sector for agriculture.

The crops market observatory consists of 14 organisations represented by 23 individual market experts from different stages in the grains supply chain (farmers, traders, first processing industry, second processing industry).

A board of market experts will meet twice a year, chaired by the Commission. A dedicated website for the observatory includes a wide range of market data on production, trade and prices that will be regularly updated and analysed to help farmers and traders manage their business.

The crops sector is the latest to benefit from an observatory, following sugar, meat and milk. These have all been created by the Commission.

Helping the European agriculture sector to cope more effectively with market volatility and ensure more transparency by sharing market data and short-term analysis is the aim.

EU agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan , speaking at the launch of the observatory, said the EU crops sector is essential to European agriculture. It produces more than 300m tonnes of cereals, 30m tonnes of oilseeds and 5m tonnes of protein crops.

On average the EU exports more than 40m tonnes of cereals every year, corresponding to an export value of more than €10bn.

Mr Hogan said he is a firm believer in the role of markets in creating exports, jobs and profits for European farmers and agri-businesses.

“However, we can only take advantage of market opportunities if all the players have access to the right information at the right time. Information is power,” he said.

“My services and I will continue to maintain a bird’s eye view of the entire agri-food economy, and by placing specific sectors under the spotlight, we can not only assist in the development of these sectors but gain a better understanding of the bigger picture too.”

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