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Wrong Direction for CAP Reforms

08 January 2014

UK - The objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy remain the same as those laid down by the treaty of Rome 55 years ago, according to the National Farmers’ Union president Peter Kenyon.

Kenyon at Oxford Farming ConferenceSpeaking at the Oxford Farming Conference Mr Kenyon said that the objectives should be to increase productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production.

He said that to promote technical progress, science is important and the main stay of this is sustainable development.

However, Mr Kenyon said that this objective of the Common Agricultural Policy has been forgotten.

He added that the National Farmers Union has championed decoupling of farm subsidies from production but to get common agreement among the EU countries, the European Commission introduced national flexibility on the implementation of the rule.

“It meant that the policy stopped being common,” Mr Kenyon said.

He added that the way the UK had introduced measures in the CAP had also produced an uneven implementation of the regulations.

He said the agreement that was reached in June 2012 was an opportunity to correct mistakes that had been made, but it had not been taken.

“Instead of this strategic vision, we got a tactical defence of the budget with the introduction of populist elements – greening, capping, small farmer and young farmer aid,” he said.

“This is a profoundly wrong direction and, in my view, the reform has failed, even in its own terms.”

He said the Commission and EU countries were getting bogged down in detail and he called for an end to prescriptive regulation.

He said there should be a simple decoupled payment declining over time converging to a common rate per hectare for the same land quality, with no national opt-outs or complicated conditions.

He said farmers need a fair return from the market and any regulation needs to be science-based.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris



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