CAP reform vote welcomed – but disappointment at ‘lack of ambition’

News of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development’s approval of reform proposals to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has invoked a mixed response from the European young farmers’ association CEJA.

Following the vote on the CAP Strategic Plans report, the farming youth representative group remains “disappointed at the lack of ambition shown for generational renewal in the agricultural sector” despite it being one of the key objectives in the future policy.

The group welcomed the vote itself, underlining the need for as little uncertainty as possible surrounding the issue of future CAP implementation.

The measures for generational renewal outlined in the report will be “insufficient to ensure young farmers enter and remain in the sector”, CEJA maintains.

According to the report, the secured budget for young farmers’ measures will only apply to the Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers, whereas crucial Pillar II instruments that assist young farmers in setting up will have no guarantee of a fixed financial allocation, while also becoming available to new farmers and rural businesses.

CEJA president Jannes Maes commented on the report, saying: “Though there was a lack of ambition shown towards young farmers in the CAP Strategic Plans report, CEJA has remained committed to raising awareness about the challenges young farmers face and what the future CAP can do to help them throughout the discussions.

We hope that incoming MEPs will take steps to ensure concrete measures are implemented to help young farmers face future challenges.

Generational renewal is fundamental to the future of the agricultural sector, the group warned.

“Not providing sufficiently for young farmers now is a missed opportunity that could profoundly damage farming in the long-run.”