Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lords committee calls for radical CAP reform

The House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has called for radical reform of the CAP: Lords . Direct payments should be phased out. The Committee welcomes proposals to 'green' Pillar 1.

The committee argues that innovation should be a central part of the whole reform agenda. This would unlock agricultural productivity which has been relatively static. High quality agricultural research and development, and its transfer to practitioners, are key to the future of EU agriculture. To boost funding, it should be possible to transfer money from the CAP to the research budget to fund Framework programmes.

The Committee calls for vastly improved farm advisory services so that farmers have better access to high quality impartial advice on possible innovative approaches. Unfortunately, publicly provided arrangements were dismantled a long time ago and it is difficult to see how they could be restored. Possibly private providers such as agronomists could undertake public policy work on a contract basis.

The report seems to reflect good sense, but there have been so many of these reports over the years and nothing much really seems to change as a result.