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NFU welcomes Defra consultation on CAP changes

by 5m Editor
30 July 2003, at 12:00am

UK - The NFU strongly supports the government’s decision to implement “de-coupling“ of support payments as fully as possible from 2005.

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In its initial response to a consultation on implementing changes to the Common Agricultural Policy, the NFU applauds Defra’s decision to break the link between support payments and production sooner rather than later.

This will hopefully free producers in England from excessive bureaucracy and allow them to focus on the market, the NFU says.

However, the NFU stresses it is important that the Single Payment Scheme operates throughout the UK in a way that does not cause distortions between the various countries.

The NFU has considered carefully the pros and cons of calculating the single farm payment as a regional average, and understands that there are arguments on both sides. However, on balance the NFU’s preferred option is to have the single farm payment made on the basis of historic farm receipts.

The NFU also supports the early decoupling of dairy premia to minimise competitive distortions.

The NFU does not feel that the use of a national envelope is consistent with a decoupled system.

NFU Deputy President Tim Bennett said: “The European Commission has given member states a number of options on how the CAP changes could be implemented in their countries. It is vital that UK farmers put forward their views on these historic changes for our industry.

“While we are still looking in detail at all the various options, we are extremely pleased at Defra’s decision to implement decoupling in 2005 and to do so as completely as possible. This will help farmers focus on the market place.“

The NFU’s preliminary response also includes comments on set aside, the funding and scope of the English Rural Development Programmes and seeds.

The Defra consultation, launched last week, deals specifically with the implementation of the CAP reform agreement in England and will be the first in a series of consultation exercises on the issue.

The NFU will now consult its membership before responding fully to the consultation in October.

Source: National Farmers Union - 29th July 2003

5m Editor