Growers criticize Europe's agricultural policy reform

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Growers criticize Europe's agricultural policy reform

Europe’s new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) agreement may not prove to be beneficial for the continent’s fresh fruit and vegetable growers, according to agricultural associations which have accused the authorities of reducing financial support available to farmers.onions_ffp

Following extensive negotiations, the 26 European Union member countries last week struck a preliminary deal for a revised CAP. The deal comes as part of negotiations to reform one of the most controversial E.U. schemes, which accounts for around 40% of its annual budget.

However, Spain's Coordinator of Farming Associations (COAG) has accused the E.U. of missing an historic opportunity to defend the position of farmers as the principal beneficiaries of European Community aid.

Although Spain is the second biggest recipient of CAP payments after France, COAG claimed the new agreement was still very harmful to farmers, claiming that it would prove to be negative for the whole of Spanish agriculture.

Among other criticisms, COAG said the revised agreement would reduce the CAP budget and in turn the amount of financial aid available to farmers, while also eliminating market regulations, production quotas and preferences given to E.U. agriculture.

The group said the reforms would also favor those who have the most hectares, not those who produce the most.

European agricultural association Copa-Cogeca claimed that although the deal would end the uncertainty that E.U. farmers and cooperatives faced and allow them to invest in future plans, the European authorities should have done more to alleviate the effects of cuts to subsidies.

"With farmers faced with support cuts of over 30% in some regions of the E.U., I seriously regret that the E.U. did not grasp the opportunity to strengthen farmers’ economic position so that they can meet future challenges," said Cogeca president Christian Pees in a statement.

"I am also disappointed that more was not done to ensure green growth: measures which benefit the environment at the same time as maintaining production capacity, resource efficiency and employment," he added.

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