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NFUS Tells Lords of Long-Term CAP Vision
21/11/07

A day after the European Commission published its proposals for a health-check of the Common Agricultural Policy in 2008, NFUS has been giving evidence at the House of Lords on its long-term vision for the CAP.

 
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The 2008 health-check is largely being viewed as a set of minor reforms, however a much more radical reform of the CAP is likely from 2013 onwards. NFUS believes that to protect and encourage the provision of ‘non-market’ benefits such as environmental protection and support for rural communities and downstream industries, ongoing direct support will be critical; a view shared by European Commission officials.

The Union also believes that food security will become one of the most pressing political and social issues for the EU in years to come, so securing Scottish and European production capacity in the short-term will be critical to delivering over the longer-term.

Speaking at Westminster this morning (Wednesday) before giving evidence, NFUS Chief Executive Andy Robertson said:

“In an ideal world, the market would deliver prices which secured agricultural activity in Scotland and thereby safeguarded the environmental, social and economic benefits that are the by-products of food production. However, whilst the last few months have seen a move in the right direction in the cereals and dairy sector, we have to see prices stabilise at a sustainable level over a long period, across all commodities.

“Food security is going to become one of the big issues for the EU deal with. World population is growing fast and the largest countries like China and India are also becoming wealthier, which is leading to dietary improvements. At the same time the impact of climate change, whether through flooding or drought, is reducing the land available to grow food. Ironically, global attempts to tackle climate is having a similar impact, with vast swathes of land now growing energy crops, not food crops. Therefore, the pressure on food supplies, which we’re already seeing, will only exacerbate. Europe will needs it farmers, not only to deliver wider public benefits, but to focus on their core role as food producers and direct support will have a crucial role to play in safeguarding our productive capacity.

“There is going to be pressure to change the historic payment system because, by 2013, it will reflect farming activity which is over a decade old. Area payments are likely to be the vehicle for delivering support in the long-term and that’s why we’re starting work now to come up with a system which reflects the costs of delivering public benefits across Scotland. We’ve already been in discussion with Commission officials and look forward to meeting the Agricultural Commissioner, Marianne Fischer Boel, in the New Year.”

link Natural England calls for a greener CAP
link Meat Export Restrictions Finally Lifted for Most of GB
link NFUS Urges Farmer and Public Vigilance for Avian Flu

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NFU Scotland