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Wednesday, 06 October 2010

Key proposals for a new Common Agriculture and Food policy

European and Belgian civil society organizations ask the European Union to reshape the CAP: Key proposals for a new Common  Agriculture and Food policy that meets European and global challenges.
1. Food security at both European and global level: regulation not  speculation

The present CAP has been excessively shaped by international trade rules that treat agricultural produce as mere commodities. This approach has failed: global food insecurity has continued to grow and the EU is increasingly dependent on imports/exports. A new phase of global food speculation demonstrates that regulation is required to stop speculation on food on the commodities markets.
We need food sovereignty: the CAP has to be based on European needs, not on WTO rules.

2. Farm income: fair prices first
The majority of farmer’s income should be generated by fair market prices paid for their agricultural production and not from subsidies, as is now the case. This is a necessary step to ensure the long-term viability of family farms. Aligning EU prices on the global ones, makes this impossible for European farmers to be fairly paid for their produce , as European production costs are higher than those of many third countries .

3. Environment , climate, animal welfare
 All farms should comply with standards involving less use of energy, chemical inputs  and water, lower carbon emissions, protection of biodiversity and health and compliance with good animal welfare standards.

4. Quality healthy food: Demand for local, quality food of high nutritional value,  produced with high standards of production could be increased by supporting schemes for catering that is sourced from local / seasonal / organic produce.

5. A rural development policy is required to complete these measures. It should include the following priorities:
- Rural employment schemes: support for small-scale processing industries, support for direct marketing and local food systems and the diversification of local economy,
- Development of rural public services

6. Young farmers, access to land: European and national measures are needed to facilitate access to land for new generations of farmers. EU Treaties should be revisited regarding land policies and foreign investment. Standards for establishing farms should be reorientated towards sustainable small/middle size farms that focusing essentially on local/regional trade. Curricula in agricultural colleges also needs to be modified to take all of the above aspects into consideration.

7. Farm workers: Each Member State should establish a minimum agriculture wage, including in Central and Eastern Europe. Migrant and European farm workers should have the same rights as those of the host country in which they are resident.

8. Food chain: Fair distribution and increased transparency of the different stages of the added value along the food chain is urgently needed. Improvements to the value added along the food chain would benefit both farmers and consumers.