Marielle – NBS
In Norway we have our own CAP. The Norwegian CAP is more effective than the EU CAP because we negotiate specificly for our food production in Norway. We repeat this every year. On the other hand, there could postivies of having a bigger alliance of small farmer organisations, like in the EU. We have specific policies that support small scale farmers. For an initial number animals and acres, farmers get more subsidy per animal/acre. Before 2014 there was a cap of amount of subsidies you could get. Effectively removing this cap, (by making it extremly high) was a stimulation and motivation for some farmes to grow the size of their farms. In practice, it meant that other (smaller) farmers had to quit farming because a bigger part of the CAP was prioritized for the bigger farms. The NBS (Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union) is still fighting to get this reversed. We believe it is unfair and we want more farmers not fewer and bigger.
The fact that EU countries do not have market regulation, means that overproduction is common. This can effect our national market. Funds for agriculture should go directly to peasants farmers. We should receive extra support for small-scale production and food produced using local resources, or that is climate and environmently friendly. In short, agroecological farming should be better supported. Agroecological farming is a way to fight climate change and not the cause for it.
On my farm, we produce organic goatmilk and make cheese. Half of the milk is sold to the Tine cooperative, a farmer-owned cooperative that buys milk throughout Norway. Through this cooperative we have market regulation that will avoid overproduction on the Norwegian market. Without Tine, in such a big country with a small population, it would not be possible to produce food profitably.
José-Miguel – CNA
I am a producer in a mountain region in Portugal, which is classified as a disadvantaged region and is located in the Red Natura 2000 area. I have an area of just over 2 ha and produce mainly red fruits, which I sell mostly to direct buyers and through a producer association that we set up with about 25 members. The Producers’ Association was built without any public support because the marketing volumes that a producer organisation must have in order to benefit from public support are too high.
At the associative level, each season, we work to get fair, renumerative prices, which is frankly difficult, as we depend on intermediaries and work with a perishable product, which once ripe has to be harvested and marketed quickly. We look for buyers outside Portugal, trying not to depend on third parties, but the problem we face is the diversity of our production, as each member works with different varieties, different production models and different soil and climate conditions and the mass market wants a uniform product.
We hear that the problem of small-scale agriculture, or family farming, lies in the inability to create organisational models of production that allow for a volume of supply capable of responding to a globalised market. The truth is that the globalised and massified model is hardly compatible with the diversity of this peasant model, and for that there is no solution in any organisational model.
Elisabeth – ABL
I am a suckler cow farmer and I manage 150 ha.
By preserving and creating meadows and pastures for our cattle, for example, we farmers make a very concrete contribution to climate protection and the protection of biodiversity.
However, the CAP does not yet reward these public services, but rather promotes the growth in size and specialisation of agricultural holdings.
The CAP after 2020 must break this paradigm and finally pay for our work on climate and biodiversity protection in concrete terms
Jean-Pierre – La Confédération Paysanne
As breeders of around thirty dairy cows (a third of which are an endangered breed) at an altitude of 900m in the Cantal region of France, our system is based on grazing as much as possible on natural meadows (for around 8 months/year), despite being based in the mountains. The need for fodder stocks is therefore reduced to 4 months per year and we only use hay. This results in a low consumption of fuel and other inputs (plastics).
We are dependent on the current CAP subsidies, like many French farms, however we think that we are legitimate recipients of the subsidies, as we deliver about 100,000 litres of organic milk to SODIAAL, and there are just two of us on the farm and we don’t produce anything else. We are one of the rare French dairy farms to have achieved carbon near-neutrality, comparing our emissions and equivalent carbon storage (verified by a CAP2ER diagnosis).
In our opinion, the next CAP needs to focus providing support for those who are truly creating employment on farms and for farms making real contributions to biodiversity, with a low environmental and climatic impact.
Ángeles – COAG
In my work as an organic farmer who also rears livestock, I play an important role in curbing the effects of climate change in my region. I grow local varieties of plants, I have an indigenous breed of sheep, cared for using traditional methods that respect the fields and forests while at the same time contributing to an increase in biodiversity. There are also six of us who work on the farm, as we have a small cheese factory where we process our milk to make cheese.
The CAP currently contributes significantly to farm income, but I believe that it has dismantled the rural environment, rewarding ownership rather than the work people do and contributing dramatically to rural depopulation and the masculinisation of the countryside. It also contributes to the negative view that society has of those who work in agriculture and livestock farming today, and the idea that we live on subsidies without working.
In order to value and support small farms, we must make CAP money goes to small-scale farmers, reducing the number of CAP subsidy recipients. This money must reach the people who actually work the fields and pay agricultural social security. Similarly, it would be helpful if one of the criteria of receiving subsidies designed for farmers were that you live in a village.
Pierre – La Confédération Paysanne
As my farm is located in the mountains, the first subsidiaries I received from the CAP were the CAHN (compensatory allowance for permanent natural handicaps). They still exist and they are fully needed to make sure agriculture and peasants do stay in difficult areas such as the mountains. They were upgraded several times and still account for almost half of the subsidiaries I receive from the CAP.
From 1992, subsidiaries for cereals, mountain milk and so on have been added. Little by little, my farm has become dependent on the help provided by the CAP and I could not do without it financially. However, I do wish that my products were better paid.
The major part of the CAP subsidiaries depend on the size of the farm, are given without any condition (or very few) and are not capped. They encourage industrial and intensive farming as well as the enlargement of farms. They can prevent the installation of new peasants who often seek small areas to grow, process their products and sell directly. I directly experienced land grabbing a few years ago, when my son wanted to become a new partner on my farm. He has since given up. The CAP should be helping these new farmers to settle, just as it should help small farms and peasants who farm in an environmentally friendly way.
The CAP will have to change radically if it is to keep its legitimacy for European taxpayers and consumers. I believe that a lot of the CAP subsidiaries would become unnecessary if the aim of the CAP was to feed European citizens in quantity and quality instead of being competitive at all costs on the global market. But for this to happen, the EU would have to extricate itself from neo-liberal dogma, stop negotiating and signing free-trade agreements, whilst questioning those already existing.