New Entrants Group Highlights CAP Flaws

Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, has today (Friday) welcomed the successful conclusion of the visit by a senior European Commission official to Scotland to learn more about the difficulties faced by our new entrants into farming.
In cooperation with the New Entrants Group, the Commission official from DG AGRI has seen several businesses run by Scottish new entrants, and has learnt firsthand about the challenges that they must overcome thanks to current rules on Single Farm Payment eligibility, as well as their concerns over the new Commission proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2013.

Alyn said:
"Thank you and well done to the New Entrants Group for putting together such a good programme, allowing plenty of time for explanation and discussion. I have no doubt that a new light has been cast on the problems too many of our new farmers face, and at a senior level in the Commission too.

"It is clear to me that the market in entitlements is not working to support active farming as it should. Payments based on a historical reference from a decade ago, long before most young farmers started, has been unsatisfactory to put it mildly. The Commission proposals for the new CAP have totally overlooked the problem that exists now and risk continuing it, not solving it. From day one there needs to be a distribution of entitlements to those actually farming the land, with no historic reference.

"With the deadline for amendments to the European Parliament's CAP reports set for 13th July, there is limited time to formulate thoughts on how best to make these important documents best suit and reflect the specific needs that Scottish farmers have. I hope that the discussions that have taken place over the last few days will have stimulated a great deal of food for thought on this point.

"Well done again to the New Entrants Group for this thought-provoking couple of days."