FUW welcomes backing for CAP report

A decision by MEPs from across the political spectrum to support the ‘Dess Report’ on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy is seen as ‘a significant step forward’ by new Farmers Union of Wales president, Emyr Jones.

But while welcoming the report’s general thrust and its emphasis on food production, he is concerned over proposals to introduce further “greening measures” into the regime.

“The significant emphasis on the need to retain the CAP budget and ensure continued food production in the EU is welcome, and demonstrates that MEPs are aware of the major challenges facing the world over the coming decades,” said Mr Jones.

“Unless we are careful, though, greening will simply serve to limit food production.

“We continue to argue that any greening measures should be focused on maximising production while minimising environmental impact in a way which actually benefits both the environment and farmers, for example by reducing input costs and increasing efficiency.”

The report approved by the MEPs proposes that payments are subject to farmers choosing greening measures from a menu which could include lowering carbon emissions, capturing greenhouse gas emissions, buffer strips, field margins, hedges, maintaining permanent pasture, crop rotation and crop diversity plans.

It also gives the go-ahead to capping of individual CAP payments made to farmers, a measure which the union had consulted widely with its membership.

“The clear view is that the membership does not object to the principle so long as the number of employees or family members supported by farm businesses is taken into account,” said Mr Jones.

The report also calls for suitable policy instruments to be put in place to support the dairy industry after the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.

“The FUW has long been opposed to the abolition of the quota regime because of the disruption and dangers which will accompany the move, not least increases in price volatility and the dangers of over-production without any safety net,” added Mr Jones.

It now seemed that Europe had also finally woken up to the fears.

The Commission’s detailed legislative proposals on CAP reform are due to be released in October and must be drawn up in light of the contents of the report.

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