European Union Committee
Responding to price volatility: creating a more resilient agricultural sector

15th Report of Session 2015-16 - published 16 May 2016 - HL Paper 146



Chapter 1: Introduction

The challenges facing EU agriculture

The case for public intervention

The inquiry and the Committee’s work

Chapter 2: Price volatility

Defining price volatility

Figure 1: Real indexed prices for selected agricultural
commodities (UK)

Figure 2: Real indexed prices for all agricultural outputs (UK)

A historical perspective

Factors influencing volatility

Box 1: Drivers of recent price spikes

Why does volatility matter?

Normal vs. excessive volatility

The impact of speculation

Volatility as a driver of productivity

Input prices

Impact on different farm groups

Table 1: Changes to farm tenancy agreements

Chapter 3: Resilience and the Common Agricultural Policy

Types of risk facing farmers

Defining resilience

The Common Agricultural Policy as a source of support

The evolution of the Common Agricultural Policy

Increased market exposure

Market management tools

The 2015 aid package

The Risk Management Toolkit

Increasing farmers’ responsibility

The role of Direct Payments

Direct Payments as a risk management tool

Direct Payments stifling innovation

Voluntary co-operation and diversification

Supporting farmers to exit the sector

Chapter 4: International models

The Common Agricultural Policy in context

New Zealand

The United States of America


Chapter 5: Access to finance and financial instruments

Access to finance

Market-based solutions

Futures markets

Insurance schemes

Insurance under the Common Agricultural Policy

Insurance and Direct Payments

The role of public policy

Financial Instruments and the European Investment Bank

Barriers to the use of financial instruments

The availability of data

Regulatory burdens

National policies

Chapter 6: Research, innovation and skills

Public investment

Public-private partnership

Dissemination of knowledge

Modern business skills

Chapter 7: The future shape of the Common Agricultural Policy

Long term objectives

Box 2: The Objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy

Support for public goods

Structural change

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members and declarations of interest

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7129 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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