Thursday, January 03, 2019

The CAP and farming resilience

What contribution does the CAP make to farming resilience? An in depth report on the subject: Resilience Assessment

The resilience of farms and farm systems has become more of a concern in agricultural policy-making. In recent years, European farming systems have generally experienced more pronounced and overlapping challenges: on the one hand, a build-up of shocks such as more frequent extreme weather events, increased price volatility on liberalised markets or unpredictable political interventions to trade policies.

These are accompanied by significant long-term stresses, such as changing consumer preferences, climate change, rural outmigration or the lack of skilled labour. The accumulation of these overlapping environmental, economic, social and institutional challenges could render many farming systems in Europe vulnerable and threaten their functions, i.e. the production of food and fibre as well as the provision of public goods.

The analysis reveals that the CAP and its national implementations do enhance the resilience of most farming systems in the case studies. However, there is a clear bias towards a robustness-cum-adaptability orientation. The main reason for this is that the bulk of resources go into payments that provide buffer resources for farms and enable the continuation of otherwise less profitable business models, thereby stabilising the status quo.

Fewer resources are funnelled into measures that enhance adaptability; this occurs mostly through rural development programs and in some cases producer organisations. An open question is whether the relatively ample support for robustness creates disincentives for adaptation or transformation and therefore impedes these other resilience dimensions.

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