CAP negotiations concern NFU

The government is set against rising public support for farmers and is making it harder for farmers to produce food, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has argued in light of a ‘provisional agreement’ on CAP reform.

According to the organisation, new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) negotiations agreed last night will “penalise English farmers and make it harder for them to produce food”.

It said the agreements will give Defra the option to cut payments to English farmers by up to 15%; give it powers to “opt out of the standard European rules on greening”; and will make the future of CAP less common, less market orientated, more complicated and “will deliver nothing in terms of achieving a more level playing field”.

Final agreements on the future of CAP rules are expected to be made today, however, MeatInfo.co.uk has been told issues have been raised about last night’s negotiations. As a result it has been rumoured the press conference scheduled for 4pm today, revealing the CAP reform, will be delayed until tomorrow.

NFU president Peter Kendall said the government could undo the support British farmers have gained since the horsemeat scandal.

He added: “Horsegate showed the importance of having thriving and sustainable domestic food production. But the Government is set upon a road which will penalise English farmers. Why would any government want to make it harder for its country to produce its own food while governments in the rest of Europe are doing the reverse?”

He also said this round of CAP reform had been “disappointing from the outset”. However, he said the NFU’s greatest disappointment was how the UK government would seek to implement the new rules here. “Defra Minsters fought hard for and have won powers to damage farming and domestic food production,” he said.

Kendall finished: “The upshot of last night’s agreement in Council is that the UK Government has failed ‘to take our EU partners’ with us. But they have been granted the powers to go it alone. The question now is whether Mr Cameron’s Government will treat English farmers fairly or continue to subject them to the ‘we know best’ policy imposed on the industry by Margaret Beckett back in 2005.”

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