A stronger and simpler Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020 which better responds to the challenges hitting the EU agricultural sector is what is needed, Copa & Cogeca told EU Farm Ministers at their meeting in Amsterdam today.
Speaking at the meeting, Copa Vice-President Henry Brichart said “Farmers need policy consistency across all sectors, stability and predictability to invest in the sector. They want a strong and truly common agricultural policy that delivers safe, sustainable, nutritious, quality food at affordable prices for the benefit of society. We believe that the objectives of the current CAP are still valid. But we need to take a closer look at existing policy measures and assess them since the efficiency of some of them is at best lukewarm”.
“The future CAP must deliver a fair standard of living to the agricultural community, in particular by increasing farmers earnings as currently incomes are on average half the level of other sectors in the EU. The situation on agricultural markets is also not improving and farm income is declining even more as confirmed by recent figures from Eurostat which show – a 4.0% drop in real terms in the EU in 2015. Moreover, only 50% of the September 2015 EU aid package has been paid out, even though the deadline is June 2016. These will further exacerbate the liquidity problems farms face in a situation of low market prices in various sectors”, added Brichart.
“In addition, the CAP has become increasingly burdensome. The simplification exercise currently being carried out by Farm Commissioner Hogan is very much welcome. It has to continue and deliver tangible results for farmers. We are also facing new challenges, such as Climate Change, that all of us need to address. We are committed to helping to combat climate change. And we welcome the Paris global climate deal which stresses that agriculture must adapt in a balanced way without jeopardizing food production. In the upcoming legislation on climate change, there consequently needs to be flexibility between the sectors included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and non-Emissions Trading Scheme (non-ETS)”, Brichart said.
Cogeca President Thomas Magnusson went on to underline the need to strengthen farmers positioning in the food chain and ensure they get a better share of the consumer euro. “Agricultural cooperatives can help farmers here to concentrate their production, add value added to it for a better position in the food chain. We also need to improve the functioning of the food chain by improving price and market transparency, preventing delays in payment, and curbing unfair trading practices. In this respect the recently established Agricultural Markets Task Force is very important and we look forward to seeing the results later this year”, Magnusson insisted.
“In addition, research and innovation needs to be stepped up as it will help with the development of higher added value products targeted to consumer demands. And here it is important that both the EIB and the EFSI support on farm investment as well as infrastructure investments for the development of rural areas as well of the agricultural sector”, added Magnusson.
Wrapping up, Mr Brichart said “The next reform of the CAP should endeavour to deliver a common, simplified, less bureaucratic policy that better responds to the challenges of the farming sector”.
The move came as ways to ensure an innovative Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) post 2020 was debated at the informal meeting for EU Agriculture Ministers in Amsterdam. The meeting kicked off with a presentation of innovative agri-food systems in Eindhoven.