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Food Supply

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of changes in (a) nitrogen prices and (b) levels of nitrogen supply on food production; and if he will make a statement. (244516)

Agricultural production is affected by a large number of factors and no specific assessment has been made of the impact of the changes in nitrogen prices and levels of supply.

In October DEFRA published its first forecast of total income from farming for the UK for 2008. This took into account the impact on input costs of changes in nitrogen prices and usage. A revised forecast will be published at the end of January together with forecasts of farm incomes in England by farm type for 2008-09. These will also take into account the change in nitrogen prices between 2007-08 and 2008-09.

A fuller economic analysis of the agriculture industry and of commodity production and supply, reflecting the full range of factors impacting on the sector, will be published in “Agriculture in the United Kingdom” in March 2009.