Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of COPA-COGECA, met with Ed Bray – deputy editor of Agra Facts / Agra Focus – at the 5th Forum for the Future of Agriculture, jointly organized by Syngenta and the European Landowners Organization (ELO), to discuss the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The secretary general of the EU farm lobby group COPA-COGECA, starts by sketching out what European farmers are looking for in the on-going CAP reform. Pesonen believes that at the core, farming families are looking for a way to “make a living in the rural areas of the European Union”.
In the area of sustainability, the Commission has proposed new environmental requirements that all famers across the EU have to meet in order to receive 30% of their direct aid. COPA-COGECA is concerned about the red tape they expect such measures to entail. In essence, Pesonen agrees with the objectives of the proposal, but considers such a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to be ineffective within a European Union that is highly diverse when it comes to agriculture.
Another problem faced by farmers in today’s world is the impact of market volatility as well as the rising costs of input materials such as fertilizers and fuel. According to the secretary general, this is not just a problem facing farmers but the whole food chain, as the consumer “always ends up paying”. Moreover, he fears that in the current economic climate, farmers are threatened by cuts in their CAP funds. The fact that the Commissioner already wants to freeze the budget in nominal terms, proves this claim, according to Pesonen.