Alan SwinbankAn expert from the University of Reading this week addressed the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on new proposals around funding for the farming sector.
Professor Alan Swinbank, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Economics, questioned proposed new legislation relating to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and, in particular, the system of direct payments. The latter ensure a safety net for farmers in the form of a basic income support, decoupled from production.
A major CAP reform is now under consideration, and the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development is scrutinising the European Commission’s proposals.
Speaking in Brussels, Professor Swinbank said: "The agricultural sector has been shockingly dependent on direct payments. They have condemned farmers to a treadmill of having to have direct payments to meet costs which are inflated because of past direct payments.
"We’ve had 20 years of direct payments, and before that 30 years of the CAP so we’ve had 50 years of support for farmers. We have to ask if this policy is working and what the CAP is for."
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