Farmers Must Not be Disadvantaged in Policy Reforms

UK - The government has the chance to show leadership and to ensure that Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform does not lead to serious disadvantages for our farmers, NFU President Peter Kendall said yesterday (27 September).
calendar icon 28 September 2012
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

Speaking to delegates at Food Security 2012, Mr Kendall expressed his continued concerns that the European Commission proposals to reform the CAP would do very little if anything to ensure European farmers contributed to the global food security challenge.

Mr Kendall, however, said it was not too late for the government to revert the course of CAP reform – and in doing so, showing leadership to other member states and influential MEPs.

“Under previous reforms, we had very clear direction of travel in favour of a policy that eliminates distorting support, brings decoupling, supports competitiveness and sensibly delivers targeted support to deliver environmental goods. There is a real danger that those positive steps will be lost in this round,” said Mr Kendall.

“Being positive about CAP reform might sit uneasily with some British politicians. But it’s essential if the UK government wants to achieve its ends of downsizing the CAP.

“It needs to set out a pragmatic, relevant policy vision that can command support amongst a sizeable proportion of your allies. This can only be achieved through diplomacy, guile and sound ideas. It means dropping some of the hectoring on the CAP. And it also means the UK moving away from a purely narrow approach to reform based solely on the delivery of public goods to a much more rounded, vision based on helping farmers to become more competitive through use of decoupled payments, targeted investment support and exploiting the future Horizon 2020 research programme to deliver more applied R&D.

“To me, this is a much more progressive approach that has the potential not only to serve the ends of food security, but also meeting the serious financial challenges ahead in Europe through growth.”

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