Minister Cioloş: 'Food Production Is Our Objective'

UK - Increased food production is at the heart of the European Commission’s plans to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş has claimed, during an exclusive interview with the NFU.
calendar icon 1 November 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

During the wide ranging and candid interview, Mr Ciolos answered a number of questions relating to the CAP, including his plans post 2013, and his desire to close loopholes that have allowed ‘questionable beneficiaries’ to receive payments in the past.

Mr Ciolos said: “The main role of farmers is and will always be to produce food. Our objective in this reform is to produce more food.”

“Productivity must increase in a way that is sustainable for the long term. This is where our moves to better embrace innovation will become of particular importance,” said Mr Ciolos.

He was also keen to emphasise his determination to ensure CAP payments reach its intended recipients.

“The policy has always been intended to reward the active farmers (rather than landowners). Member States have had the option in recent years specifically to exclude non-agricultural companies from the direct payments system – but no government has taken up this possibility.

“We hope that our new proposals will also reinforce the status of the active farmer, and close some of the other loopholes which have seen some questionable beneficiaries,” he added.

Maeve Whyte, director of the NFU office in Brussels, said: “We may not agree with many aspects of the Commissioner’s reform proposal but we cannot fault him for being open and approachable.

“He has maintained from the outset that he wants to listen to farmers and this has been a welcome demonstration of this.

“We will continue to talk to the Commission about CAP reform and it is our top priority to tell him what farmers think. We will certainly hold him to his comment that the CAP’s main objective must be to produce more food.”

The Commissioner’s comments came in response to questions sent in by NFU England and Wales and NFU Scotland members as part of a competition to ‘Question the Commissioner’. The best questions were picked out and put to Mr Ciolos.

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