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Copa-Cogeca Urges Farm Ministers to Re-Focus CAP

by 5m Editor
1 June 2010, at 12:01p.m.

EU - Copa-Cogeca, the EU farmers' association, is urging EU politicians today to re-focus the CAP and strengthen the economic role of EU farmers in producing food, so that they can play their crucial part in contributing to the EU's 2020 strategy, maintaining over 28 million jobs in EU rural areas.

Speaking at EU Farm Ministers informal meeting in Spain, Copa President Padraig Walshe, said: "The EU agriculture sector plays a vital role in providing jobs in rural areas, with an estimated one in six jobs dependent upon agricultural production in the EU. But production is falling sharply in many sectors, especially the meat sector, and imports, which do not have to meet the same high standards as those in the EU, are increasing. The re-opening up of trade liberalising talks with Mercosur, the Latin American trading group, is therefore totally unacceptable.

"EU farmers' incomes are continuing to plummet, with many reaching 1990 levels. This has resulted in a huge 25 per cent drop in employment in the agriculture sector between 2000 and 2009. The severity of the crisis is highlighted by the demonstration of Spanish farmers and cooperatives outside today.

"To enable the agriculture sector to contribute better to the EU 2020 strategy, greater weight must be put under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to reinforcing the economic production role of farmers, in a way that maintains employment and the economic viability of rural areas. If not, farming in the EU will become concentrated and intensified, with vast of areas of land going to waste, and unemployment will increase."

Cogeca President, Paolo Bruni, said: "We have put forward a series of proposals for the CAP post-2013 which focuses on a better functioning market. Farmers bargaining power in the food chain must also be strengthened. One way of doing this is by concentrating supply via producer organisations, especially cooperatives.

"Furthermore, measures to help farmers become more competitive need to be strengthened. Direct payments to farmers and tools to manage the market must continue and be improved in the period post-2013 so that farmers can cope with price volatility, meet the high cost of EU regulations and deal with natural disasters such as the recent floods in Poland. With the right support, agriculture can also contribute to combating climate change significantly."