A new EU agricultural policy for people and nature

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80% of all CAP beneficiaries receive only 20% of direct payments. [Alexey Yuzhakov/Shutterstock]

Despite previous reforms, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) largely continues to support a resource-intensive and high-impact agricultural model which is not fit for today’s societal and environmental challenges, writes Jabier Ruiz.

Jabier Ruiz is senior policy officer for Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems at the WWF European Policy Office.

Over the last decades, we have been very successful in boosting agricultural production in Europe, but this has come at an enormous cost: we have irresponsibly increased pressure on nature, both inside and outside Europe, and we are rapidly depleting the natural resources that agriculture relies upon.

Despite previous reforms, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) largely continues to support a resource intensive and high impact agricultural model which is not fit for today’s societal and environmental challenges. And it is very unfair for the average farmer: 80% of all beneficiaries only receive 20% of CAP direct payments. The system is benefitting a rich elite while the majority of small and medium farmers struggle to make a living out of more sustainable farming.

The CAP must be urgently redesigned to really meet its main objective: support farmers, people and the environment. More sustainable, climate friendly and fairer farming practices need to be mainstreamed to offer an attractive and promising future for young farmers in Europe.

WWF and its partner NGOs are determined to bring about a better and modern CAP for the future. And to achieve this by 2020, we have launched the Living Land platform, gathering support from a wide range of organisations and people: over 380 organisations and 142,000 citizens have already called for a strong reform.

The first important opportunity to set the ground for this reform is the Public Consultation launched by the Commission. Make your voice heard in the debate on the future of agriculture before 2nd of May!

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