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Friday, 23 November 2012

Generational renewal in EU agricultural sector

The European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) is now calling for an installation aid and annual top-up payments to facilitate young farmers entry to the agricultural sector and help buffer them from market volatility and price fluctuations in their first few fragile years of business. This action is part of the new “Future Food Farmers” campaign, organized by CEJA to raise public awareness of the impending age crisis in European agriculture.
The Common Agricultural Policy of the EU (CAP) currently has the ‘setting up of young farmers’ measure to provide installation aid to young farmers under the second axis. However, being an optional scheme, this program has a low take-up rate in Member States. A single premium or interest rate support is also given up to EUR 70,000, co-financed at 50-50%.
In the future CAP, the Commission proposes to allocate a maximum of 2% of the annual national ceiling for direct payments to young farmers for a maximum of 25 hectares of arable land and 5 years. The main drawback of this proposal is the area and age limit – 25 hectares of arable land is considered a small area in most Member States where agricultural activity cannot be effective and profitable.
Only 6% of agricultural holders in the EU are below the age of 35, while one third are over 65. Young farmers are faced with significant entry barriers (access to land and credit, investments, etc.), limiting their access to the agricultural sector.


Source: CAP Reform blog.