Scotland’s leading farming organisation has used a major UK arable event to call on Europe to take a proportionate and common-sense approach to the integration of ‘greening’ measures into the planned reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Speaking from Cereals 2011, which takes place in Lincolnshire today (Wednesday 15 June) and tomorrow (Thursday 16 June), NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Committee Chairman, Andrew Moir said:
“It is clear from recent discussions and reports that there is a growing consensus between the European Commission and the European Parliament that ‘greening’ through agri-environmental measures will form part of the new CAP deal.
“While the introduction of a greening element to direct payments is now a common theme, it is vital that this is delivered on farm through simple measures that allow productivity and farm competitiveness to be maintained.
“Cereal farmers already have a sound understanding and deep respect for the role they must play in protecting biodiversity and maintaining the countryside. At the same time, their productivity is key in a volatile world where food security is an increasing priority.
“Strong upward trends in global food prices over the past two years, growing world populations and concern over the impacts of rising food prices should mean that, with European support, we try and make the best use of our productive arable land here in Scotland.
“Given the likely increased demands for food production in the future, it is imperative that greening does not return us to the dark days of set-aside. It would appear perverse to the wider world were Europe to give any consideration to a blunt tool such as set-aside and cut production at a time of rising world requirement.
“As an organisation, we are actively engaged in talks at a European level on greening of the CAP and are adamant that any discussions on how to make the CAP greener are practical and deliver true benefit. These could build on the good practice already found on many Scottish arable farms. Using technology to better target inputs, measures to protect water margins and the like are already common-place and would fit with the ‘greening’ ethos.”