European farmers’ confidence dips as pandemic takes hold

According to the EU Farmers Confidence Barometer survey carried out in Q1 of 2020 across ten EU member states, showed that the mood among farmers was slightly up on the previous quarter. But, with the survey being conducted in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’s confidence was about to take a hit.

Confidence index EN

The mood among farmers did not drastically change since the previous quarterly index. However, whilst the overall impact of the pandemic was not entirely reflected in the survey, the pandemic was beginning to affect some countries, which is shown in Italy as their mood has darkened.

Italy was one of the first countries to be affected, showing a drastic reduction in confidence as the pandemic hit them the hardest early on.

The Netherlands felt low in confidence as well, which could be explained mainly by the drop in demand in the horticulture and floriculture sectors, which would normally witness seasonal highs in the springtime.

“Agri-bashing”

In both France and Germany, over 30% of farmers reported that criticism known as ‘agri-bashing’ had a clear impact on their motivation to continue farming. The concept of “agri-bashing” is on the rise in the media across various EU Member States, the precise definition remains elusive. The definition of “agri-bashing” varies from one country to another

A survey among 2,500 farmers found that France was affected the most, with 75% of farmers reporting an increased amount of critical comments concerning farming activities in the public discourse.

Germany came second with 59% of farmers believing that their practices had been criticised, while in Hungary (38%) and Italy (12%) criticism in public discourse proved to have a lesser impact.

. France’s high criticism percentage meant that for 31% of French farmers their motivation is directly affected by this criticism. In Germany, an even higher percentage of farmers felt their motivation had been impacted, with 33% of them agreeing that public and direct criticism affected them.

This overall outcome could imply further underlying issues and socio-economic impacts as far as farmers’ motivation is concerned, as the extent of the criticism in each country does not appear to directly correlate with farmers’ motivation.

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