Farmers need time to adjust to new CAP, says EU group

Farmers and co-operatives must not be penalised unfairly in the first years of the Common Agricultural Policy reform, their umbrella body Copa-Cogeca has warned.
Farmers need time to adjust to new CAP, says EU group

It said it will be pressing hard in 2015 to ensure that EU farmers and co-ops are given time to adapt to the new measures.

Copa-Cogeca working party chairman Udo Hemmerling said greening under the new CAP is proving burdensome for farmers, but basic questions on how to implement the new rules also remain unanswered.

“Yet, this is crucial when farmers have to make important production decisions. Rules to implement the CAP at national level are only just being finalised.

“Excessive red tape and bureaucracy under the CAP has already been identified as a major concern for farmers and co-operatives, stifling innovation and investments.

“The risk of unintentional errors during the first years of implementing the CAP will, therefore, be high, which would automatically cause payments to be cut.

“Since it is already too late to provide greater clarity on the rules, there must consequently be a certain amount of tolerance in the first years vis-a-vis cuts in greening payments.

“On-farm visits to advise and help farmers to implement the greening rules correctly and deliver the desired environmental benefits are crucial”, he said.

Mr Hemmerling welcomed the fact that EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has already launched a comprehensive screening exercise of the entire agricultural legislation.

“A key priority for Copa-Cogeca will be to feed into this exercise and ensure simplification is a success. A reduction in red tape would free up time and resources to boost investment, growth and jobs.

“Simplification should not change the political compromise nor endanger the objectives of the CAP”, he said.

Mr Hemmerling said it will also be crucial to ensure the greening measures do not result in land being taken out of production.

“It is very hard for farmers to understand that the EU should opt to cut production at a time when the rest of the world is focusing on producing more food to meet growing demand”, he said.

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