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The CAP 2014-2020
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Farmer with cropsThe CAP has been through a number of reforms since it was first established as a key component of European Union policy.

Talks on the latest reform began in 2010 and an agreement on CAP 2014-2020 between all EU Member States was achieved during Ireland’s presidency of the EU in 2013.

The new policy builds on previous CAP agreements and responds to new challenges facing the sector, many of which are driven by factors external to agriculture.

Europe’s modern agri-food sector and rural communities now have to overcome new economic, environmental and territorial problems and CAP 2014-2020 aims to do just that.

Challenges presented by uncertainty around food security, climate change, threats to habitats and biodiversity and rural area depopulation have to be overcome.

To achieve these long-term goals, previous CAP instruments had to be adapted so that agriculture can produce higher levels of safe and quality food, while preserving the natural resources it depends on.

The CAP post-2013

Here’s a summary of some important measures included in CAP 2014-2020

1. CAP Budget

The EU budget set aside for the CAP is divided into two pillars. Basically, Pillar I provides funding to support production and Pillar II provides financial support for rural development. The total budget for 2014-2020 amounts to €362.787 billion of which €277.851 billion is for Pillar I and €84.936 billion for Pillar II.

Ireland has set aside over €12.5 billion in Common Agricultural Policy and exchequer funding to the Irish agriculture sector for the period up to 2020.

2. Direct Payments

In CAP 2014-2020 the allocation of direct payments under Pillar I that are dedicated to coupled support, young farmers, small farmers, etc. now depend on choices made by individual Member States.

It had been proposed that Member States move towards uniform rates of payment per hectare by 2019 but Ireland has adopted a ‘partial convergence’ model.

That basically means payments will move part of the way towards a national average, rather than to uniform payments, in an effort to support productive farmers while bringing more equity and fairness into the distribution of direct payment funds.

3. Better co-ordination

CAP 2014-2020 is designed to be efficient, targeted and coherent and takes a more holistic approach to policy support than previous CAPs through better targeted funding under Pillar I complemented by the regionally tailor-made and voluntary measures of Pillar II.

Farmers can now be rewarded for services they deliver to the wider public, such as landscapes, farmland biodiversity and climate stability even though they have no market value.

4. Competitiveness

The removal of constraints such as restrictions on production volumes for sugar, dairy and wine is one of the features of CAP 2014-2020 designed to help with competitiveness in the agri-food sector.

That means farmers will be able to better respond to growing world food demand and they will also benefit from improved producer cooperation supports that should also boost the competitiveness of farming by reducing costs.

Other instruments under Pillar II designed to enhance competiveness include restructuring and modernisation measures as well as start-up aid for young farmers.

5. Sustainability

Farmers are being supported under CAP 2014-2020 to adapt to climate change by taking actions such as developing greater resilience to disasters like flooding, drought and fire.

From 2015 onwards, the CAP also introduces a new policy instrument under Pillar 1, the Green Direct Payment. This accounts for 30% of the national direct payment envelope and rewards farmers for maintenance of permanent grassland, crop diversification and concentration on ecological focus areas.

At least 30% of the budget of each Rural Development Programme under Pillar 1I must also be reserved for voluntary measures that are beneficial for the environment and the fight against climate change. 

The new greening architecture of the CAP

Last update: 23/05/2014  |Top