Eurostat has released figures revealing key production and price trends in the EU throughout last year.

Cereal production and prices in the European Union (EU) both slumped in 2005, compared with 2004, according to the latest food market figures from EU statistical agency Eurostat. Faced with a bumper harvest in 2004, producers struggled to secure good prices, even by cutting back on production – a process aided by poor weather. Overall EU cereal output, including rice, maize, rye, barley, oats and wheat, fell by 10.7% in 2005, with prices also falling by 8.8%. There were particularly catastrophic production falls in Spain (42%) and Portugal (39%) because of drought.

By contrast, while EU olive oil production also fell in 2005, (by 16.1%), prices for this product actually rose, by 8.1%. There were other serious production falls for potatoes (7.2%) and fruits (3.1%).

Milk prices fell by 2.5% overall, although there were some steep increases in Lithuania (26.6%) and Latvia (13.1%).

Regarding meat, cattle prices rose 3% across the EU last year, but fell for other livestock. Prices for EU pigs fell 1.4%, 3.4% for sheep and goats and 3.8% for poultry. One big meat sector change was a 14.1% annual increase in Polish poultry production. Meanwhile, for the politically contentious sugar beet sector, the EU saw a 2.8% fall in prices.

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