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Productive Agriculture Must Be Included In Future CAP

17 March 2010
National Farmers Union

UK - The NFU will set out its stall for the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy during a hearing of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

Speaking at the session today (Wednesday March 17), NFU President Peter Kendall will tell MEPs that a strong and common agricultural policy is needed in the EU reflecting the strategic importance of the sector to Europe.

“While the current economic crisis may preoccupy the thinking of Europe’s politicians, Europe’s agricultural sector is central to several major strategic challenges: producing safe, affordable food for a growing world population, mitigating the impact of production on natural resources and the climate and contributing to Europe’s future energy security”, said Mr Kendall.

“It needs to mitigate against the impact of climate change as well as protect farmers and growers against increasing market price volatility. We agree entirely with the report from George Lyon MEP that a strong CAP is needed in light of these challenges.

“The NFU has reiterated its support for a CAP to do exactly what it says on the tin; it needs to be common to ensure a level playing field across all sectors and all member states and it needs to focus on helping farmers and growers meet the massive food production and environmental challenges that lie ahead.

“In an ideal world, the long-game would be to move farming to a place where it is much less reliant on public income support. Every farmer that I have spoken with would like to stand on their own two feet in the market, where they are competitive in fair, rules-based global markets, and see returns that allow them to manage risk, ride out volatility and invest for the future. We all know we’re not there yet – far from it – and until then we are going to need public, political and financial support to meet the many challenges we all face.

“Direct de-coupled payments to farmers will remain a vital part of the CAP after 2013 to ensure that the additional regulatory and social costs of European food production are compensated and to ensure that agricultural production is resilient to market and climatic shocks. But as important will be taking steps at EU level to ensure that markets function better than they do currently. This includes the EU taking additional steps to eliminate abuses of market power, measures to strengthen the position of farmers in the market place and greater balance in supply contracts.”

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