Which is the best risk management tool?

The extent and nature of the risk management tools that should be offered to EU farmers is one of the main issues which will be debated in the context of the future CAP after 2020. Already, in the COMAGRI amendments to the Omnibus Regulation, we see the interest of parliamentarians to extend the risk management toolkit and to make it more attractive for farmers to use.

The COMAGRI amendments seek to allow Member States to use CAP funds to contribute to insurance premiums for market-related hazards (that is, price variability) and revenue variations as well as just production variations due to adverse climatic events, diseases, pest or an environmental incident as at present; to provide for sector-specific income stabilisation tools so that farmers could enrol in schemes for a specific production and not necessarily for whole farm income; and would allow indemnification payments to farmers whenever the production loss (or income loss in the case of mutual funds operating an income stabilisation tool) exceeds 20% rather than the 30% in the existing legislation.

Read the rest

CAP – out of the box thinking

Last Monday saw the launch of a report “CAP – thinking out of the box” by the Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE) Foundation. The report director was Allan Buckwell and the other contributors to the report are Erik Mathjis, David Baldock and myself. The report is a response to the public consultation on the modernisation and simplification of the CAP launched by Commissioner Phil Hogan in February.
Below, I reproduce a short summary of the key messages of the report.

Further adaptation of the CAP is necessary to help EU farming become a well-structured industry which is economically viable and environmentally sustainable.

Read the rest

The US farm safety net

In its most recent Farm Bill in 2014, the US eliminated its decoupled direct payments, in part because it was hard to justify making income support payments to farmers at a time when farm incomes were booming due to favourable prices. Instead, it substituted a new set of counter-cyclical payments as part of the US farm safety net. At the same time, it expanded the scope of its federal crop insurance programmes by introducing a new programme to cover ‘shallow losses’ not normally covered by these programmes.

These US developments have led some in Europe to argue that the CAP should move in the same direction.

Read the rest

Use of risk management tools in the CAP

It has long been recognised that greater price and income volatility would accompany the move to a more market-oriented Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Already in the run-up to the Fischler Mid-Term Review (MTR) in 2003 which led to the decoupling of direct payments, the Commission published a working document on risk management tools for agriculture, with a special focus on insurance, in 2001. The Council MTR agreement mandated the Commission to study specific measures to address risks, crises and natural disasters that agriculture may face. This led to a Communication from the Commission in 2005 on risk and crisis management in agriculture which discussed different instruments that could be implemented in the CAP.

Read the rest