For an Ambitious Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

In late 2009, leading agricultural economists from all over Europe issued a declaration on ‘A Common Agricultural Policy for European Public Goods’. They proposed the abolition of market intervention and blanket income support to farmers, and outlined a more efficient, greener CAP. Since then, DG Agriculture, the European Parliament and many member states have adopted positions that closely stick to the status quo. Now a new declaration ‘For an Ambitious Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy’ has been published. All European economists who work on agricultural policy issues are invited to join the declaration online.

The declaration states:

The need for ambitious CAP reform: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fails to adequately fulfill important societal objectives: to enhance biodiversity and climate protection, improve water quality, preserve scenic landscapes, increase animal welfare, promote innovative, efficient farming and fair competition in the internal market, and avoid harming farmers abroad.

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Rural development & regional policies

RuDI stands for “Rural Development Impacts” and is a consortium of 10 research institutes that has taken an in-depth look at the second pillar of the CAP, examining the rural development programs in all member states and conducting 20 case studies. In addition to calling for more effective use of policy evaluation and bottom-up processes (LEADER), they take issue with the excessive concentration of rural development on agriculture and insufficient integration with other regional policies.

They observe – and endorse – an emerging “new rural paradigm” which

is based on the notion of the multifunctionality of rural areas, where various sectors beyond agriculture are acknowledged to play a key role with regard to rural areas’ competitiveness, and where investments across sectors are considered to be a more appropriate tool than farm subsidies alone.

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Rural development & regional policies

RuDI stands for “Rural Development Impacts” and is a consortium of 10 research institutes that has taken an in-depth look at the second pillar of the CAP, examining the rural development programs in all member states and conducting 20 case studies. In addition to calling for more effective use of policy evaluation and bottom-up processes (LEADER), they take issue with the excessive concentration of rural development on agriculture and insufficient integration with other regional policies.
They observe – and endorse – an emerging “new rural paradigm” which

is based on the notion of the multifunctionality of rural areas, where various sectors beyond agriculture are acknowledged to play a key role with regard to rural areas’ competitiveness, and where investments across sectors are considered to be a more appropriate tool than farm subsidies alone.

Read the rest

OECD research on the CAP

Agricultural ministers of the OECD met in late February 2010 – the first time since 1998 – and issued a communiqué that touches on everything and says close to nothing. For once, such an empty statement is perfectly fine. The OECD Secretariat doesn’t need its ministers in order to do an excellent job in providing intellectual guidance and hard data.

The flagship of OECD research is certainly the country-level analysis of agricultural policies, based on Producer and Consumer Support Estimates and enriched by a brief description of recent policy developments in the report on Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: Monitoring and Evaluation 2009.

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Addressing the dairy crisis – is US intervention buying a good thing for EU producers?

Today, the US raised its intervention support prices for some dairy products as a way of supporting the US farm price for milk. The support price for skimmed milk powder was increased by 15 percent and for cheddar cheese by 16 per cent for a limited 3-month period. Immediately milk prices on the Chicago Mercentile Exchange increased by 5 per cent, and it is estimated that the measure will add $243 million to US dairy farm incomes in the current year.

From a European perspective, this measure has ambiguous effects and may even be welcomed for its short-run effects. In the short run, the Commodity Credit Corporation will enter the market as an additional buyer, raising the floor price of milk.

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Where to find data on EU export refunds?

Recently, I was looking for an internet source for EU export refunds – not overall expenditure, but the refund rates for individual commodities by month. What I was hoping to find was an Excel worksheet which set out this information, but it seems extraordinarily hard to come by. The nearest I could get was the excellent webpage on export refunds for milk and meat products maintained by OFIVAL, the French marketing agency. However, the data here take the form of pdf files containing the information every time the refund levels are changed, and it would be extremely tedious to transfer this into an Excel file.

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