The French Ministry of Agriculture has announced its key proposals for what the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should prioritize for 2020 and beyond to better meet the common agricultural needs of the EU of the future.
The CAP, which was introduced in 1962, serves as the key EU-wide tool to structure agricultural policies in the 28 member states that compose the bloc. It is arguably the most important European common policy, shaping an enormous amount of actions in the European agriculture industry. It provides farmers with a minimal price for their products and helps to increase competitiveness of their exports overseas. It has evolved with society, from helping to achieve food security after World War II, to promoting more respect for the environment, better food safety, and phytosanitary and animal welfare standards today.
French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll’s CAP reform proposals are designed to answer a series of important issues, food security, economics, employment, the environment, territory and resilience.
Here’s a broad summary of the main objectives of these proposals:
1. Contributing to growth and jobs, underpinned by innovation and a transition to new models of products.
The French proposal insists that the post-2020 CAP must enhance European agricultural competitiveness, pushing the industry toward innovation and supporting the rural areas and the European economy in a broad sense. The CAP should continue to provide basic support, including by providing compensation for the implementation of the high standards expected from consumers for high-quality, healthy and safe products at affordable prices.
At the same time, the CAP must provide strong encouragement for innovation and investment, new approaches, new technology and a digital revolution in the industry. The French proposal insists that the new CAP must allow for strategic government actions in favor of new development in industries with a bright future or those that have particular importance.
2. Responding to environmental and climatic changes and helping to ensure a proper balance in rural areas.
Agriculture and forestry are two industries that can offer major solutions to the important environmental challenges facing the world, whether it be through preservation of natural resources, better management for biodiversity, or fighting against climate change. The post-2020 CAP must make European agriculture the most effective from this important standpoint. This involves encouragement for widespread use of environmentally friendly methods and systems and also providing support to the industry to transition to these practices.
Promoting the physical and biological quality of soils as an important tool for action is a key component of this theme. Raising levels of organic material in soils can increase their productivity, improve their resilience to hazards by maintaining moisture, and contribute to reducing climate change by storing more carbon in the soil.
3. Strengthening the sector’s resilience in order to cope with a wide range of risks.
The French proposal pushes for a substantial reinforcement with regard to risk and hazard management. The future CAP must be capable of playing an effective role in balancing economic good times with the bad, providing support when times are tough. The various schemes used to accomplish this will need to be well organized and complementary in order to cover the various types of risk and crisis (economic, sanitary, climatic, and environmental) as well as their different levels of intensity. The goal is to provide an economic safety net to help farmers and others in the industry in times of need.