In our Spring 2013 newsletter, we reported that Sophia Davidova, Professor of European Agricultural Policy, was to lead an international team of researchers, including Dr Alastair Bailey from the School of Economics, looking at proposals for a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This research considered the future of semi-subsistence farmers within the context of the CAP for the period 2014-20.
Sophia presented a study ‘Semi-subsistence Farming: Value and Directions of Development’ to the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in May 2013 that evaluated the effectiveness of the current and proposed CAP measures for the period after 2013.
The study concluded that the fundamental issues of income support to semi-subsistence producers is inadequately addressed by the CAP, and put forward a set of recommendations for policy implementation to strengthen the CAP approach for semi-subsistence farmers in Europe.
A reform package for the post-2013 CAP was approved by MEPs in November 2013 that puts more emphasis on environmental protection, a fairer distribution of EU funds and improved risk management. The new CAP includes a Small Farmers Scheme, which provides a significant simplification in the support for the small farmers.
Since then, Sophia has been working on an in-depth analysis, together with her co-author, Kenneth Thomson from the University of Aberdeen. Sophia presented the paper, titled ‘Family Farming in Europe: Challenges and Prospects’, to the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in March 2014. Her analysis explores how family farming dominates EU agriculture and focuses on its importance to rural communities and the environment. It discusses the specific challenges faced by EU family farmers: their small size, succession planning and their relative powerlessness in the food chain. It also talks about the limitations in the ability of the CAP to support the smaller family farms, and the scope for action through national policies.
A special issue of EuroChoices, a policy outreach journal on agri-food and rural resource issues, is expected in April, dedicated to the UN Year of Family Farming. It will focus on small farms in Europe and the foreword introducing the issue will be written by the EU Commissioner on Agriculture and Rural Development. Sophia Davidova, Kenneth Thomson and Janet Dwyer are guest editors.
Read the full in-depth analysis here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2014/529047/IPOL-AGRI_NT(2014)529047_EN.pdf