EU young farmers welcome proposed CAP reform

Young farmer representatives, both at home and in Brussels, have welcomed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform focusing on better addressing the issue of generational renewal.

Last week’s approval by MEPs on the EU Parliament’s agriculture committee of the ‘Draft Report on the implementation of CAP young farmers’ tools in the EU after the 2013 reform’ has been welcomed by European young farmers’ representative organisation CEJA.

In a statement on the matter, CEJA expressed its satisfaction with the work carried out by the MEP committee members on the draft resolution – while reminding everyone of the need for tools to help young farmers in every member state.

Commenting on the matter, CEJA president Jannes Maes said: “During the start of a busy spring in the lives of many EU young farmers, it is encouraging to see that Comagri [EU Committee on Agriculture] is calling for further attention to be given to the specific position of young farmers.

“This draft report can serve as a good reference for the discussions on the CAP post-2020,” Maes said.

Also positive was the fact that MEPs called on the commission and member states to better incentivise international mobility.

This could be achieved through an Erasmus-type programme for young farmers to encourage knowledge exchange and is something CEJA has been campaigning for, according to the organisation.

Following the positive outcome of today’s vote, CEJA is more convinced than ever before that the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) proposal “should adequately accommodate the needs of young farmers”.

Irish view

Meanwhile, from an Irish perspective, the strong stance taken by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan in his recent comments requiring member states to implement substantial packages for young farmers in the next CAP reform has been strongly welcomed by Macra na Feirme national president James Healy.

Currently, across the EU 28, countries implement a business start-up package for young farmers; however, this measure to support young farmers has been suspended in Ireland since 2009.

Healy said: “While Ireland utilises a number of measures to support young farmers, it is essential that we utilise the full range of policy tools and schemes available at EU level to support young farmers.

Implementing a range of policy tools at both national level through taxation policy and at EU level through the CAP is essential to make generational renewal a success.

The president concluded: “Macra na Feirme has outlined in its policy document on the future of the CAP a range of supports and tools that will help young farmers and we welcome the fact that the commissioner is actively considering many of these measures.”