Calls for a 'systematic reduction' in direct payments to farmers
A new report on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has recommended direct payments to farmers should be systematically reduced.
The report published by the Rural Investment Support for Europe Group shows how the current CAP does not make best use of the considerable resources deployed to support land managers through the necessary transition.
It says the largest instruments of the CAP, the Pillar 1 direct payments, which account for over 70pc of CAP funds are ineffective, inefficient and inequitable.
It is suggested that these direct payments should be systematically reduced and resources switched to provide targeted assistance, including transitional adjustment assistance to help farmers adapt and rise to the specific challenges of improving productivity, resource efficiency and risk management and to pay farmers to provide specific environmental and other public goods.
According to the report's authors, including Irish Economist Alan Matthews, in the context of over-stretched resources especially soil, water and biodiversity, changes in climate which impair agricultural production, and greater volatility in farming conditions, it is essential that Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is further adapted.
“The status quo is unacceptable.
“The CAP must be modernised to help EU farming become a better-structured industry which is economically viable and environmentally sustainable.
“Indeed, agriculture has a crucial role to play in addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring that European Union lives up to its commitments to these goals,” it says.