A small handful of big farms received a big proportion of EU direct aid payments under the old CAP regime according to recently released Commisson figures. Of the €27.2 billion in subsidies paid out to some 5.2 million EU farmers in 2002, over €1 billion was handed out to just 1,140 large farms. And each of these fortunate recipients received over €500,000 each.
Germany had the highest number of farms receiving payments of over €0.5 million each with 960 farmers receiving €0.9 billion between them. This reflects the survival in private hands of what were big collective farms in the former East Germany. At the other end of the scale, well over half the farms receiving CAP aid in 2002 (some 2.9 million) received annual aid cheques of less than €1,250. Of these farms, 2.3 million were situtaed in either Italy, Greece or Spain.
The largest overall recipient of direct aid continued to be France which received €6.9 billion in 2002. Of this amount, €2.6 million was shared out between fewer than ten of the biggest farms. It is sometimes forgotten that France is not a land of peasants or even medium-sized family farms, but has some very big agribusinesses.
We have heard of a new webiste that aims to give detailed information about the recipients of EU farms subsidies. Visit Subsidies .