The National Beef Association has called for a radical new approach to CAP reform, with its massive amount of red tape and the absorption of a huge proportion of available funds by self-interested executive agencies and quangos completely eliminated.
The NBA is looking for an EU-wide approach to sweeping reform, with current, outdated, systems replaced by direct grant funding for farmers to make their businesses more proficient at producing food - and at the same time better able to meet national requirements for emerging issues like efficient energy use and waste management.
“Easily available, direct investment funding for farmers must replace the inefficient and costly government executive agencies such as the RPA (Rural Payments Agency) and the RDA (Rural Development Agency), which are currently charged with administering Rural Development Programme funds but which have failed miserably with the delivery,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.
“More effective domestic food production is being demanded by a worried public which is becoming concerned about global shortages while at the same time wanting to be sure energy is used efficiently by agriculture while air and water are kept as clean as possible too.”
“Farmers are frustrated because their ability to produce more food, in the cleanest possible conditions, is being curbed by excessive regulation that is a hangover from the time food production was a secondary consideration.”
“This means the demolition of the existing funding control system is a priority and a simple, effective, way of encouraging farmers to meet the new production and management targets being demanded of them must be developed.”
According to the NBA the amount of money wasted by almost useless agencies is scandalous, not just because the vast proportion of some funds are almost inaccessible to farmers but because much of the available money is soaked up by internal administration and quangos.
“Narrow minded officials in the RDA are reluctant to release money at a time when more is needed on the ground to finance increasingly essential reduction in costly animal disease and other, fundamental, grass-roots, agricultural activities,” said Ms Haywood.
“The current system of distributing important sections of CAP funding is horrendously dysfunctional and achieves virtually nothing. Farmers are just not getting the money they need and many of the projects that are approved by the RDA are ineffective.”
“Imminent reform talks should be aimed at making the CAP work at cross-EU level. It needs to focus on converting farms into efficient, and environmentally aware, food production and land management businesses.”
“Farmers will support moves to simple, more effectively administered funds for forward looking, capital investment projects. They will also welcome payments to sustain active farming instead of the current system of payments for un-farmed, unused hectares. The former will help them become more efficient and regain control over their businesses. The second will ensure farmers regain their self esteem and public acknowledgement as food producers and delay the on-coming time of food shortages,” Ms Haywood added.
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