New Copa president calls for stable EU farm policy

Cutting red tape, securing better prices for producers and improving international competitiveness are the priorities named by new Copa president, Martin Merrild.

After taking over as head of Copa, the European farmers’ organisation, he called for the EU to deliver a “stable agricultural policy”, giving producers the freedom and flexibility to help meet the challenge of feeding a world population that is growing by 140,000 people every day.

“As Copa president, I will be advocating a strong export strategy aimed at opening new export markets, especially in Asia,” he said. “I will also continue Copa’s pro-active line in the present EU free trade negotiations with the USA (TTIP) but will ensure that our high production standards are respected. I will also press to conclude the trade talks with Japan.”

Mr Merrild (pictured above), who has been president of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council since 2012, also warned that the world’s battle against climate change was an issue which continued to “threaten food production”.

“Global food production is expected to drop by 17% for each degree of temperature rise as a consequence of more extreme weather such as drought and flooding,” he said, adding that “producing more with less” will be the key words of the future.

Copa has also elected six new vice-presidents to support Mr Merrild. They are Eddie Downey, Ireland; Roberto Moncalvo, Italy; Henri Brichart, France; Maira Dzelzkalēja, Latvia; Franz Reisecker, Austria, and Miklós Zsolt Kis, Hungary.

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