Common Agricultural Policy
What Has to Be Done
If we fail to protect the farming profession, it will become extinct. Soon there could be no CAP left to reform!
As the role of agricultural labour becomes increasingly marginal, we are witnessing an exodus from and "ageing" of the countryside. According to Eurostat estimates, only 7 percent of farmers are younger than 35 and a third are over 65.
Concrete measures have to be adopted to stop this "haemorrhage" and encourage young people to repopulate rural areas and the agricultural sector in general.
Slow Food believes the new CAP should:
- restore dignity to farming work;
- ensure young farmers a decent income, hence security;
- create networks of young people with farmers-plus other actors in the food supply chain-to pre-empt the sense of isolation that often discourages them from entering the farming profession;
- promote training for young farmers and knowledge transfers from generation to generation;
- help young people's business projects by cutting out red-tape and providing financial incentives;
- supply subsidised technical assistance on agroecological methods, business management etc.
Slow Food believes the new CAP should restructure the European Union's agrifood system round sustainable small-and medium-scale production and local economies by:
- reviewing denominations of origin, introducing rigorous criteria of sustainability, quality, ties to the land, historical relevance and biodiversity protection;
- simplifying the prerequisites and red-tape for the start-up of new businesses;
- rewarding producers who defend traditional and local biodiversity and preserve the traditional agricultural landscape;
- promoting information and knowledge exchanges among small producers;
- setting up training programmes to optimise agronomic, processing and marketing techniques;
- organising environmental and food education in schools and awareness-raising and citizen information programmes;
- creating market channels for small- and medium-scale products by promoting farmers' markets, fair trade buying groups and groups that pledge to support local agriculture directly.
- rewarding those who supplement agricultural production with educational, cultural and tourist activities to promote knowledge of the environment and agriculture.