HC Deb 18 January 1994 vol 235 cc495-6W
Mr. Barnes

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Waveney (Mr. Porter) of 17 December 1993,Official Report, columns 1071–72, if she will list all those member states whose area of oilseeds exceed a level calculated by reference to the 1989–91 average area; for what reasons the Council decided to extend the moratorium on the use of bovine somatotropin for one year only; and what was the Commission's recommended moratorium on bovine somatotropin.

Mr. Jack

The EC-US oilseeds agreement does not apply until the crop for harvest in 1994 nor will penalties apply unless total plantings throughout the Community exceed the EC's total base area. The member states with areas planted to oilseeds in 1993 in excess of their 1989–91 average area are Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Tyler

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will publish a table of farm incomes for each of the years 1982–83 to 1992–93 showing the figures at 1992–93 prices for the dairy farm, lowland livestock farm, cropping farm and hill and upland livestock farm sectors.

Mr. Jack

Estimates of the average net farm income at 1992–93 prices are provided in the following table. The method of farm classification has been changed and results are available only on the new classification from 1986–87. Year-to-year comparisons can best be made by reference to the indices shown in the table; these are based on results from identical samples between successive years.

The Commission's proposal was that the marketing and use of BST within the Community should be prohibited for the duration of milk quotas, that is currently until 31 March 2000. The Council decided however, to extend the moratorium on the marketing and use of bovine somatotropin for a further year only, so that it could consider the implications of a long-term ban, including the consequences for international trade, and the new situation created by the recent decision of the United States to approve the marketing of BST from the beginning of February 1994.

It remains the United Kingdom view that the final Community decision on BST should be based firmly on scientific principles, taking into account the need to avoid international trading problems, to encourage Community based research industries, and to maintain the competitiveness of the Community's agriculture and food industries. Nonetheless, we accepted that it was sensible to extend the current moratorium for not more than one year, so that the Council could consider these new developments and experience overseas.