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Dairy UK gives CAP reform update a mixed review

By Guy Montague-Jones , 19-Nov-2010

A communication from the Commission on the direction of reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) has got a mixed reaction from Dairy UK

A communication from the Commission on the direction of reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) has got a mixed reaction from Dairy UK.

EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos yesterday proposed different policy options to meet the goals of a “secure food supply, sustainable agriculture, a better environment and rural development” that have already been set for CAP reform.

Options outlined

Ciolos said options for reforming the direct payments system include a fairer distribution among EU countries and between large and small farmers. Another option is variable compensation based on actions to protect the environment.

On reform to rural development programmes one approach is to maintain a wide approach, offering funding in areas related to everything from climate change to biodiversity. Alternatively the focus could be narrowed down to climate change issues.

Regarding market intervention measures, which now take up a much smaller share of the CAP budget than was once the case, the Commission is looking at further simplification to improve the functioning of the supply chain.

Debate on all these options is now under way and will feed into proposals for legislation, due to be tabled in 2011 for implementation in 2014.

Dairy UK reaction

Giving its initial reaction to the communication from the Commission, UK policy director Peter Dawson said: “The document is a major improvement on the previous version in that it acknowledges the need to address efficiency, productivity, competitiveness and so forth.

“However, we still have a reservation as to whether this recognition has been reflected in effective policy recommendations.”

In addition Dawson expressed reservations about particular proposals. The Dairy UK representative said: “The proposals still seem to be heavily skewed towards meeting social and landscape management objectives, which are necessary concerns, but European agriculture will be extremely vulnerable if the issue of competitiveness is not tackled.

“In particular, the proposal to discriminate against larger farmers in the distribution of the single farm payment would seem to run counter to the pursuit of efficiency.”

With regards to the single farm payment, Dawson added that the proposals for restructuring the single farm payment appear excessively complex.

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