It is not unlikely that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be reformed after 2020. To stimulate a strategic discussion regarding the reform of this policy, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has asked LEI to conduct an exploratory study into possible scenarios and policy options for the CAP after 2020. The study contains suggestions for the policy's structure that serve as input for a public debate, both online and offline, and also provides an overview of possible objectives for the CAP. Alongside issues such as food security, the environment and climate, it also addresses possible new objectives such as public health.
Food security, risk management and income support
Domain A (profit) encompasses the CAP objectives of food security, risk management and income support for farmers. Farmers in the EU currently receive a land-based payment. The LEI study suggests to introduce personal income payments for farmers that are set regionally. In addition it proposes a financial safety net, a fund, for situations such as failed harvests; subsidies for risk management could remain in place, e.g. in the form of insurances.
Nature, environment, biodiversity and climate change
Domain B (planet) encompasses the CAP objectives relating to nature, the environment, biodiversity and climate change. As instruments for domain B, LEI proposes paying farmers extra for their sustainability performance in addition to legislation relating to nature, public health and animal welfare. An example could be voluntary reduction in the use of antibiotics. In order to reduce administrative burdens and give the industry an incentive to take greater responsibility regarding sustainability and reasonable incomes for farmers, these payments could be linked to sustainability programmes implemented by the industry or regional government. Another proposal within this domain is that the government could support information measures to encourage consumers to eat more plant-based products than animal products as a first step towards a European food policy.
A living countryside, innovation and employment
The creation of a living countryside and the stimulation of innovation and employment in the agricultural sector occurs in domain C (people). This can be stimulated by the government through the introduction of investment subsidies and schemes via European programmes such as the EIP. Entrepreneurs should also be given access to subsidies and schemes to enable the business to perform several functions (multifunctional farming). This generally strengthens ties with the surrounding area and has a positive effect on the sector's image.
Issue: changing from an agricultural policy to a food policy
This study has a number of limitations. For example, it only discusses to a limited extent the issue of whether agricultural policy should change to a food policy, a discussion which was set in motion in the Netherlands by the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy but which has only just started in Europe. Nor does it consider the scope and possible reductions of the EU budget and the effects on the CAP. In summary, the report outlines trends and developments of importance to the CAP after 2020, offering points for a strategic discussion in the Netherlands and the EU regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.