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To Green or Not to Green?

7 December 2011, at 11:16pm

EU - Are farmers not green enough now and is greening of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) compatible with increased food production, were the topics of debate in Brussels yesterday. Charlotte Johnston, ThePigSite editor, reports.

Recent proposals for the CAP include a greening element, whereby 30 per cent of direct payments will be dedicated to "optimal use of natural resources".

This includes a seven per cent ecological focus area, crop diversification measures and registered permanent pasture.

It is fair to say that this "greening" proposal has not gone down well with the majority of member states.

Defending the proposal yesterday, Commission for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos said that the benefit of these measures must be looked at in the long term. He said that the 30 per cent greening would be applied across all member states, in a bid to make the CAP more of a level playing field.

"These proposals will improve soil quality and ensure that EU agriculture is sustainable for future generations."

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen, representative of farming unions across the EU said that whilst they support the idea of increased sustainability through green farming, the proposals will not benefit farmers.

Instead he said that it will impose further costs on farmers, increase regulatory burdens and penalise farmers heavily.

"The whole concept of greening decreases our competitiveness," he said.

Discussing the concept of seven per cent ecological focus area, Mr Pesonen said that taking land out of production would not aid European farmers in meeting the challenge of increasing food production.