CAP decisions ‘risk leaving young farmers behind’

This week marks a “pivotal time” for the future of EU agriculture and young farmers, with co-legislators defining their position on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, according to European young farmer organisation CEJA.

The EU representative body said it welcomes the fact that decision-makers moved forward to clarify their position on the CAP reform offering, by doing so, much-needed stability to farmers.

However, CEJA said it regrets that EU Agriculture Ministers “did not raise their ambitions on the generational renewal objective”.

The group noted that, two years after the European Commission presented its legislative proposals on the future of the post-2020 CAP, EU farm ministers were meeting to agree on a general approach on the CAP reform package.

Commenting, CEJA president Jannes Maes stated that “CEJA supports the AGRIFISH Council’s efforts to discuss the future of the farming sector and move forward in further designing the CAP reform”.

He added that “it is positive that a broad palette of instruments such as targeted investment support, complementary income support and installation aid is made available for young farmers”.

However, Maes also stressed that “with no real budgetary support these instruments fail in achieving their core objective – attracting and sustaining young farmers”.

Europe’s young farmers count on EU decision-makers to ensure beyond the nice words that generational renewal, one of the nine post-2020 CAP key objectives, can actually take place.

Decisions on the future of the EU agriculture policy framework must include the people who will implement the policy, CEJA says.

The association said that young farmers are committed to deliver food security to EU citizens for the upcoming decades while striving for a more sustainable sector.

However, to achieve this they urgently need to be provided with sufficient budget streams and adequate support, CEJA stressed.

EU farm ministers, by not taking into account young farmers’ concerns, missed a chance to both efficiently tackle in the long-term the environmental challenge and guarantee an ambitious generational renewal for the sector, the EU agri body said.

Leaving young farmers behind jeopardises EU long-term food safety and environmental ambitions, the organisation concluded.