"Europe's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reflects the aspiration of European society for a policy that guarantees good quality food, sound management of natural resources and a balanced development of our countryside. It is a policy for the benefit of all EU citizens".
EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Cioloş
CAP facts: did you know?
- The Common Agricultural Policy is one of the most integrated policies of the EU.
- The farming and the agri-foods industries today represent 46 million jobs and 6% of European GDP.
- The average EU family spends around 15 % of its monthly income on food, half what it was 50 years ago.
- Farmers manage more than half of European land, playing an important role in safeguarding its natural resources.
The CAP in our lives
Much of what we consume and use every day comes from a farm, from our milk, bread and meat to our vegetables, oil and clothing.
Agriculture is at the heart of our daily life, vital to the economy and society. And farming cannot exist without farmers. They produce high quality, safe food for more than 500 million EU citizens. They also help tackle climate change and preserve the diversity of agriculture.
In June 2013, EU institutions agreed upon a reform of the CAP to meet future challenges. The newest version supports European farmers in meeting our demands about food, the environment and our countryside, and ensures that they can make a reasonable living doing so.
The CAP post-2013
Healthy, safe, affordable food
Did you know that each year our farmers produce 10 million tonnes of apples, 140 million tonnes of milk and 300 million tonnes of cereals, to name just a few examples?
The CAP supports farmers across the EU in producing the food we need.
It does so by supporting farms and farming practices in the different regions and countries of the EU, from big to family-run, and conventional to organic.
It respects the rich diversity of agricultural traditions that make Europe’s cuisines and food products famous throughout the world.
A cleaner environment
Did you know that certain parts of farms (pastures, buffer strips, etc.) not only create our landscape, but play a key role in preserving biodiversity and fighting climate change? The CAP helps farmers to keep 5% of their land as Ecological Focused Areas.
We rely on farmers to care for natural resources such as soil and water, and to safeguard biodiversity, for our benefit and that of future generations. A well-managed countryside that supports nature and wildlife is more resilient to climate change, and essential for the production of safe, nutritious food.
The new CAP helps farmers do more to protect our environment. It links 30% of the income support they get through the CAP to sustainable farming practices such as crop diversification and the maintenance of ecological areas. Extra funding is also given to support organic farming.
A vibrant countryside
Did you know that the farming and agri-foods industries today represent 46 million jobs and 6% of European GDP?
Farming is also about rural communities and the people who live and work there. Half the EU population lives in the countryside. If there were no farms or farmers, the whole economic fabric of our rural areas would be under threat.
The new CAP focuses on helping farmers across the EU keep the countryside alive. It helps farmers to modernise their farms and to invest beyond food production – especially through rural development programmes.
Today, fewer young people are going into farming. Only 6% of Europe’s farmers are under 35 years old. The new CAP makes the profession more attractive through special schemes that support young farmers during their first five years.
The history of the CAP
The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was created in 1962 to increase food production in a Europe which had suffered from years of war and famine…
Monique Schalenbourg explains to her grandson: ’Here is your great-great grandfather, Emile. During the war, people were starving. We had to feed people in the village and those coming from far away to the farm, asking for food. After the war, we started using tractors and that allowed us to produce much more…’
Taken from the Three Generations of Farmers video.
 Watch the video here:
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