The European Commission must confine itself to only a “health
check” when it re-examines its policy on subsidy decoupling
in 2008, the National Beef Association said today.
A complete overhaul of the CAP, on the same lines as the so-called
2002 review which eventually resulted in a full scale revamp and
then the dismantling of direct subsidies in 2005, is the last thing
farmers either want, or need, at a time they are only just beginning
to get to grips with the most recent round of changes.
“The 2005 reforms moved UK farming irreversibly along the decoupled route
and there have already been significant movements in the beef sector to accommodate
the Commission’s wish to see more alignment between production and the
market,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.
“Beef farmers are also right in the middle of moves to erase the glaring
production inefficiencies created by decades of poorly targeted headage payments
and any decision in Brussels that interrupted this much needed progression would
be both ill-advised and confusing.”
The NBA would also like to make clear its wish that both the Commission and the
UK national government should retreat as far as possible from interfering with
commercial decisions at farm level and confine themselves to disease control,
food safety issues, farm yard research, the promotion of overseas marketing and
assistance for farmers, through knowledge transfer and other tools, as they meet
the challenge of the move from coupled to decoupled production systems.
“Farmers want only to farm now that decoupling has given them the freedom
to manage their businesses in the way that is best for their holding, and for
themselves,” said Ms Haywood.
“Government, and the Commission, should steer clear of issues that impact
directly on commercial farming and contribute too much needed, long term, stability
by creating the least regulated, and least complicated, management environment
that is possible for practical farmers instead.”
“There is much that must still to be done in Brussels and at government
level to make this possible and no reason whatsoever for anything beyond simple
fine tuning and adjustment to be considered when EU farm ministers once again
turn their minds to the CAP.”
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