NFU demands common sense in CAP greening

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has demanded that the EU inject common sense into the plans to green the single farm payment of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond has warned EU leading policy-makers not to implement measures that would hamper production and harm competitiveness, calling on them to recognise the efforts already being made by British farmers. He was in Strasbourg to meet MEPs in charge of amending the CAP proposals, including Agriculture Committee chairman Paolo De Castro and lead rapporteur on CAP, Portuguese MEP Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos.

Raymond said: “Because MEPs are in charge of amending Commission proposals, they have a wonderful opportunity to simplify the policy, to make it more market-orientated and to help farmers become more competitive.

“The Commission’s Impact Assessment indicated greening will result in a 4.8% cut in farm incomes and could push food prices higher through supply-side pressures. This is unacceptable, but the problems don’t stop there.

“We fear greening could also undermine the Commission’s environmental goals by discouraging farmers from entering into environmental schemes in Pillar 2. Currently, 68% of English farmland is managed in optional agri-environment schemes.

“We are encouraging MEPs to recognise the efforts that many farmers are already making in delivering environmental benefits through the CAP. If Pillar 1 greening measures cannot be deleted from the text, we have told MEPs they must be common at a European level, maintain our productive capacity and minimise cost and bureaucracy.

“Over the next six months, MEPs will write amendments to improve key areas of the regulation, such as on greening. This is our chance to inject some common sense into CAP reform.”    

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