'Hand off our pasta'
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CTA. 2002. 'Hand off our pasta'. Agritrade, October 2002. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52677
Against the background of the Commission's CAP mid-term review...
Against the background of the Commission's CAP mid-term review proposals to complete the shift from product support to farmer support the Italian government announced strong opposition to any cuts in aid to durum wheat producers. Italy currently produces 3.5 million tonnes of durum wheat per annum for which it receives € 345 per hectare in subsidies, a total of €552 million per annum. The mid-term review proposals call for a reduction in the special supplementary payments for durum wheat from 'traditional' areas (all of Italy's durum wheat-producing areas) to € 250 per hectare over a three-year period (and its abolition in 'established areas'). The Italian Minister of Agriculture Gianni Alemanno maintained that this was 'a fundamental issue for Italy not only because the reform will cut Italy's share of the budget, but because it could lead to a transfer of durum wheat production, and related pasta production to other countries'. This he maintained 'would be intolerable'. Comment: The Commission maintains that reform of the durum wheat regime is necessary since each year 1 to 2 million tonnes of durum wheat are used in animal feed and not as an input into pasta production. A modification of the current specific supplementary payment regime is thus held to be essential. Furthermore the EU Court of Auditors has criticised the special supplementary payment system for over-compensating farmers. Italian concerns over durum wheat and pasta production may however be addressed through modification of the proposals for special payments for high quality durum wheat for manufacturing purposes. This would help to ensure the ready availability of durum wheat for pasta production. Italian pasta is increasingly appearing on supermarket shelves in southern Africa indicating that existing cereal sector reforms have already assisted in enhancing the price competitiveness of Italian pasta production on overseas markets.