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CAP:some improvements to an outdated framework that is destroying farms

27 June 2013

There are some positives points, but the EU has chosen to maintain the neoliberal approach to agriculture that was launched with the 1994 WTO agreement.

CAP reform: Some improvements to an outdated framework that is destroying farms: the sustainable family farmers’ struggle continues in Europe! With unemployment on the rise in Europe, accelerating climate change and food security concerns, a fall in farming population due to the lack of income or perspectives, and the citizens’ deep crisis of confidence in the European Union, we might have hoped that the CAP reform would provide a strong response to confronting the challenges both o today and of tomorrow. There are certainly some positive points- often non-binding for the Member States - such as coupling of direct payments - including for protein-based plants, the possibility of increased direct payments on the first hectares, and many open measures for rural development. The difference in levels of support for old and new Member States will be reduced - but the difference in levels of support for farms within most of the Member States remains far too high. We welcome the introduction of these improvements compared with the current CAP, as they were heavily contested by the agro-industrial system’s lobbies. These lobbies have attempted to bring pressure to bear, for there to be no changes made in the indecent, unfair way in which support for agriculture has been distributed. The European Coordination Via Campesina denounces the failure to include any form of regulation of milk production. This will accelerate the loss of many farms. With an annual budget of nearly 60 billion euro, Europe still has the ability to provide quality food for its 500 million citizens, preserve land, rivers and income to farmers. But the European institutions have chosen to maintain the neoliberal approach to agriculture that was launched with the 1994 WTO agreement: agricultural produce traded on internal or international markets at dumped prices - below production costs - and deregulated markets subject to volatility and speculation. Most "agricultural policy" consists of merely distributing subsidies to maintain production, supplying the downstream sector with cheap produce. That is a dead-end framework for millions of farmers who will continue to abandon the sector. This is a new failure to seize an opportunity for Europe to renew its actions and regain credibility for its food policy, a vital aspect of our lives. Action will now be played out in all the Member States not only in terms of policy implementation, but in day-to-day life on the farms. The European farmers of La Via Campesina, a strong movement that is growing on a daily basis, are developing more autonomous and sustainable systems, creating shorter local circuits to feed local populations, and mobilizing a growing number of citizens to have a greater impact on more fundamental and necessary political reform of the future. Contacts : Geneviève Savigny (FR,EN) + 33 625551687, Jose Miguel Pacheco (PT,ES) +351 918736441

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