SOME sensible words were spoken recently by the EU's agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler on the way forward for farmers. His starting point was the quality of farm produce. Noone is going to say that quality has ever been far from farmers' minds, but until recently it wasn't really the first consideration. Productivity was more important.

That was fine when demand for food was supply-driven - in other words when farmers could simply sell everything they produced. That changed in the early 70s when Europe became self-sufficient in ...

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