Food production still key to CAP – Ciolos

FOOD production is still a key part of farm support, said the EU’s agriculture Commissioner on his first UK visit at the Royal Highland show yesterday (Thursday, June 24).

Speaking at a seminar on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) on the first day at the show, Dacian Ciolos told farmers a reformed CAP would not ignore the needs of food producers.

He said it was widely accepted that the CAP supported farmers to ensure they had an adequate income, as well as encouraging them to deliver environmental goods.

Reassuring the fears of some farmers that EU policy was switching its focus towards environmental payments, he said farmers ‘main role’ was still to produce food.

Other payments, centred around environmental schemes, he said, were paid to recognise the public goods farmers delivered in the course of food production.

He also denied claims the EU would look to reduce the amount of direct support received by farmers through instruments like the single farm payment - pillar one of the CAP - and put more money into environmental and rural development programmes - pillar two.

Instead, he said it would be possible to encourage ‘public goods’ through direct payments.

He said: “The delivery of public goods could be delivered by pillar one we cannot get into a situation where we have a ‘good pillar’ and a ‘bad pillar’ we have to have two complimentary pillars.”

He was backed by MEP and chairman of the EU Agriculture Committee, Paolo De Castro who said the industry needed to move away from its perception that the two pillars of support are exclusive.

He said: “It is not about putting money into Pillar 2 from Pillar 1. We have to talk about them together, there is no exclusivity. The CAP is a single policy and the various pillars should be considered together.”

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