Industry Sets Out Five CAP 'Priorities'13 August 2013
SCOTLAND – Five priorities for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) delivery and funding have been sent to Richard Lochhead, Secretary for Rural Affairs in a letter from livestock stakeholders.
A joint statement was sent by the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Associations, the Scottish Beef Association and NFU Scotland ahead of crucial CAP implementation decisions.
The group’s top priority was for an introduction of a minimum stocking rate as a barrier to ‘slipper farming’ and to support the diverse intensity of upland agriculture.
Part of any area-based payment must be targeted to support farm/croft businesses, underpinning food production.
Importantly, the letter stressed that the government should, within one year, include new entrants and growing businesses into area based payments. This is best done by taking a ‘phased approach’ to allow cattle farmers to adjust to a system without payments, the group advised.
Another consideration was the possibility of the EU commission allowing ‘vulnerable sectors’ in an area based support system.
This will take the form of an eight per cent chunk of UK or Scottish budget to be utilised as a coupled payment which the industry says will help farmers and rural communities ‘downstream’ in the shape of communities, exports and local employment.
Finally, pillar two payments are to allow for rural development programmes to achieve goals. Industry leaders are desperate to see lesser favourable areas (LFAs) supported in order to maintain the landscape, communities and production of challenging areas.
The letter concluded : "Channelling rural development funds through farm businesses is the most effective use of the budget to achieve priority SRDP outcomes, with particular emphasis on carbon efficiency, sustainable livestock production and a flourishing agri-environment."
TheCattleSite News Desk