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EU Farm Leaders Call for Strong, Market Orientated Farm Policy

8 October 2012, at 9:06am

EU - In a major declaration adopted at their 2012 Congress, European farm leaders called on EU heads of state, governments, the EU Commission and Parliament to ensure that there is a strong, market orientated Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and a good budget behind it. This is more important than ever in a world of increasing uncertainty, market volatility and rising global food demand.

In a world of increasing uncertainty and volatility on world markets, the need for Europe to have a strong agricultural sector is more important than ever. EU farmers, men and women, and their cooperatives have the potential not only provide food security and stable prices to the 500 million consumers but also contribute to economic growth and employment, help combat climate change and continue to provide a wide range of rural services.

For this to happen farmers need to have a more profitable and sounder economic situation. They need to have greater stability so that they can make long-term plans and invest. And they need access to new techniques and new markets so that they can better cope with climate change and make the most of Europe’s production capacity. A strong CAP, backed by a strong budget, must set us on this path. The future CAP should:

  • assist farmers to obtain their fair and rightful share of the food value chain in return for their on-farm value added by increasing transparency, banning unfair commercial practices and encouraging producer organisations, in particular cooperatives;
  • limit greening measures to those which do not have a negative impact on production capacity or costs;

  • put new emphasis on achieving green growth on farms through solutions which benefit both farmers’ productive capacity, productivity and efficiency as well as the environment and climate change;

  • develop research and innovation and ensure a more joined-up approach between farmers, advisors and researchers;

  • develop the new opportunities offered by the bio-based industry and tackle the current bottlenecks in the supply value chain;

  • ensure a balanced and stable biofuels policy which takes into account the benefits not only for climate change but also in reducing EU dependence on protein feed imports as well as energy imports;

  • provide better market and risk management and more market intelligence and coherence to help farmers cope with increasing volatility and crises on world markets;

  • encourage new business initiatives in rural areas and ensure that women play a more integrated role in business development;

  • develop cooperative enterprise initiatives to improve farmers’ returns in the face of more international competition;

  • provide a stable policy framework so that farmers, including young farmers, can make long-term plans and investments – no U-turns.

Copa-Cogeca calls upon the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission to take the opportunity offered by this reform of the CAP to implement these measures. There will be no agricultural sector in Europe if we cannot attract future generations into farming. Above all we need farming to be a profitable business opportunity with long-term prospects.