Strong CAP Needed to Help Europe Grow

NETHERLANDS - The EU must keep a common agricultural policy (CAP) and not accept nationalisation, said Netherlands LTO President, Albert Jan Maat, yesterday (17 March) in Parliament.
calendar icon 18 March 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

"Internationally, our farmers and producers are performing well, however their incomes are under pressure," said Mr Maat. In many EU countries, including the Netherlands, there is strong criticism regarding the size of the budget and spending.

He said that total government spending for agriculture amounts to less than 0.5 per cent of GNP of collective member states.

To help the agricultural policy grow after 2013, there will have to be compensation – not for production but for things such as animal welfare, the environment and bioenergy, said Mr Maat.

Farmers continue to do more for the same money which leads to them scaling back their businesses at the detriment of the countryside.

He went on to say that in areas where production is not a priority and where a great value is attached to living in the countryside and a protected landscape, additional policy and funding is essential to help producers.

Mr Maat said that a base payment per hectare was indipensable. It is imperative to produce a sustainable food supply with fewer resources.

Land-related sectors such as cattle and the cultivation of cereals, sugar beet and starch potatoes are important to ensure stable markets and a diverse landscape.

The LTO believes that the current Common Market organisation system needs to be adjusted, as does European competition rules so that producers and supermarkets can compete equally.

Mr Maat criticised the recent 'Europe 2020' strategy which hardly mentions agriculture or horticulture. He concluded saying that the agricultural sector has played a major role in the growth and preservation of Europe and will continue to do so.

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