The CAP and agriculture: profit or sacrifice?

The CAP ( Common Agricultural Policy ) dates back to the 1950s, in which the population was marked by years of war and in which agriculture had come to a standstill, thus not guaranteeing the supply of food to the population. The main objective of this first CAP was to promote improvement in agricultural productivity so that the population had a stable supply of food at affordable prices as well as to ensure that the EU had a viable agricultural sector. In this way, it offered subsidies and systems that guaranteed high prices to farmers and incentives for them to produce more.

In the 1980s, surpluses were almost permanent, they were fought with export aided by subsidies, storage or disposal. This caused a high budgetary cost, causing distortions in some world markets . Because of this, from 2005 a payment decoupled from production, ie establishing an aid which is payable regardless of whether or not a farmer produces, called Regime of Single Payment . Apart from this, there are “premiums” for producing depending on which products some are not “first necessity”, such as tobacco growing.. Its cultivation within the state is encouraged while it profits from its taxes, which are increasing each time. In one of the last meetings of European agriculture ministers, Arias Cañete asked for more aid for this crop. Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask for aid for other crops? In the Ebro Valley, many fruit farmers are eliminating cultivated hectares because the purchase price of the products is constantly lower than the costs. In Andorra they grow tobacco, but once they have received the CAP aid they collect it and burn it, is this the future we want for our field?

It is worth highlighting the strong presence in agricultural production in France and Germany, with Spain and Italy being their main “competitors”.

The total cost of the CAP represents 40% of the total budget, being jointly financed by the Member States. The EU budget is financed mainly from its ‘own resources’: customs duties, levies, VAT and a resource based on the gross national income of the member states. The latter represents approximately three-quarters of the total budget. It is that the CAP is funded by all the citizens .

But who does the CAP really favor ?

First, we will
discuss the
aid to the development . The EU does not tire of repeating that the CAP does not influence the market or the production of less developed countries, dedicating 9% of the budget to questionable foreign aid while boasting of the many programs they put in place. the realityis that the CAP reduces the economic opportunities of those countries most dependent on the agricultural sector, curiously those with the lowest incomes. Not only does it keep products from these countries out of the market due to tariffs, quotas and subsidies, but it also establishes rules of competition that depress international prices. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a 75% cut in tariffs and subsidies would increase the income of developing countries of around $ 23 billion. It seems that for rich countries (USA, EU) it is politically cheaper to defend the benefits of foreign aid than to criticize the consequences of the CAP in poor countries.

Second, the distribution of aid. Are they really fair and just? Of the total aid that Spain receives, only 10% are for main farmers (ATP), people who dedicate themselves solely and exclusively to the field. The remaining 90% goes to the nobility, archbishoprics, large agri-food firms, politicians and high commissioners of the EU and even a nuclear power plant. Among them we highlight the Casa de Alba, Nestlé , the transgenic firms Syngenta Seeds and BASF, Associació Nuclear d’Ascó (ANAV), the EU Commission of Agriculture and the British Royal Family. In other words, aids mainly financed by all citizens go mainly to large landowners and monopolies that produce food , agrochemicals, GMOs, politicians and the Church.

The Spanish State has always been the garden of Europe and together with the Mediterranean countries led agricultural production. Now both France and Germany surpass us in production. It’s easy to connect the dots …

 Written by Noelia Calonge Moreno, visit her Blog and follow her on Facebook Twitter      

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