Spelman urges EU farm subsidies rethink

Published on Wednesday, 05 January 2011 09:36
Posted by Scott Buckler

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is to call for a fundamental rethink of the EU Common Agricultural Policy


She will tell farmers at the Oxford Farming Conference the policy distorts trade and must be changed. Ms Spelman will also say subsidies should have less emphasis on food production, and reward farmers who take steps to protect the environment.

Her comments come as negotiations begin ahead of major reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2014.

Wildlife habitats

Many of the farmers attending Wednesday's conference benefit from subsidies from the CAP. But Ms Spelman will tell them that in future those payments should be linked less to food production and instead reward farmers for delivering benefits such as improving wildlife habitats and biodiversity.

The environment secretary will also say it is morally wrong that the CAP distorts trade by keeping prices artificially high in the EU while imposing import tariffs on developing countries trying to sell to Europe.

Ms Spelman is expected to say:

 "We need to make the new CAP fundamentally different.

"It must be about the new challenges of achieving global food security and tackling and adapting to a changing climate.

"Now is the time to make very significant progress towards reducing our reliance on direct payments."

Source: ©BBC News

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