The first estimates of agricultural income for 2004 show a year-on-year increase of 3.3% in the European Union as a whole, mainly due to the contribution of the new member states, according to Eurostat.

However, in the new member states agricultural income increased by an average of 53.8%, as accession to the EU provided countries with access to the EU Single Market and implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy. Agricultural income in the EU-15, the 15 member states that formed the EU before the accession of ten further countries in May this year, also increased this year by 0.8%.

"The new member states' accession to the CAP has brought new security and new opportunities to their farmers. I'm also delighted that real farm income in the 'old' member states has returned to its long-term upward trend. I am certain that all EU farmers will be able to build on this success as the new CAP reforms come on stream," said Mariann Fischer Boel, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Across the EU, factors contributing to the increase included the sharp increase in agricultural harvest compared to 2003, notably for the cereal, oilseed, wine, olive oil and potato sectors. The total volume of crop production rose by 12.5 %, offsetting the decrease in real crop prices (-8.4%).

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