Reform of the hops sector
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CTA. 2003. Reform of the hops sector. Agritrade, December 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52816
On September 30th 2003 the European Commission put forward...
On September 30th 2003 the European Commission put forward proposals for the reform of the EU hop regime. The Commission is proposing a substantial delinking of hop support from production by transferring it to the decoupled single farm payment scheme. Member states, however, will be able to opt for total or partial decoupling, with the possibility of maintaining a maximum of 25% of aid linked to production, so as to accommodate the needs of particular regions. The Commission's proposals for reform are based on the report of an assessment of the situation in the hop sector which maintained that future policy should meet three key criteria: it should maintain the viability of production, ensure economic conditions favourable to production and accommodate the market trend. As in other sectors the reform will provide 'aid equivalent to the present aid' but through 'a more efficient and direct transfer of the support'. The Commission's assessment outlines the current system, which is based on: a certification procedure; a forward contract system; rules for recognition and promotion of producer groups; rules for trade with third countries. The hop sector accounts for only € 12.5 million of EU agricultural expenditures, with hops being cultivated on 22,000 hectares of land. Production is concentrated in Germany (80%), with the hop sector shrinking as yields improve, beer-making technology changes, and consumer tastes evolve. The EU is the world's leading hop producer, accounting for 40% of production, and is a major exporter of hops, with imports around half the level of exports. Comment: Once again the commitment to providing 'aid equivalent to the present aid' shows the extent to which the EU intends to continue to support EU producers, even in minor crops.