Thursday, July 27, 2006

Large farms benefit from direct aid

880 large farms or agri-businesses each received over €500,000 in the final year of the old pre-Single Farm Payment CAP regime according to draft Commission figures. This means that just 0.02 per cent of beneficiaries received 2.5 per cent of the total EU budget for direct aids (€700m out of €28.2 billion).

Germany once again had the largest number of farms receiving payments of over €0.5 million each, 620 farmers who received €0.5 billion between them. This is a reflection of the survival of large farms in the former East Germany.

However, France has its large farms as well. France was the largest overall recipient of direct aid in 2004, €6.9 billion, and of this €1.7 million was shared out between fewer than ten of the biggest farms.

Well over half the farms received CAP aid in 2004, just over 2.5 million, received annual aid cheques of less than €1250. Of these farms, 2.1 million were situated in either Italy, Greece or Spain. There has been speculation that these very small payments could be phased out because of the transaction costs involved in calculating and paying them. However, even very small sums can be important to marginal enterprises, e.g., where the farmer is past retirement age.

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