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© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Chapter 9: The Common Agricultural Policy There is a common misconception that the CAP is about helping small struggling farmers and looking after the European rural environment. But in reality the bulk of these funds end up in the pockets of the wealthiest farmers and processors while also doing enormous harm to developing countries. Luis Morago, Head of Oxfam International in Brussels
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 The Common Agricultural Policy The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a set of policies aimed at raising farm incomes in the EU. The CAP is problematic: -it accounts for almost half the EU budget but farmers continue to leave the land; -it accounts for many of the quarrels among EU members and between the EU and third nations; -it is a massively complex matrix of policies; -it started as simple price support policy in 1962 when the EU was net importer of most food and agriculture was very important in terms of employment and GDP (but not anymore).
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 To a large extent, the CAP has been a programme aimed at buffering the worst pain of the inevitable downsizing of the agricultural sector. The Common Agricultural Policy
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Simple price support with tariff When the EU was a net importer, a price floor could be implemented with ‘variable levies’ (i.e., tariffs) to ensure that imports never pushed EU prices below the price floor.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Food tax and subsidy interpretation Price floor supported by tariff is like all-in-one package made up of simpler policy measures: -free trade in the presence of -a consumption tax equal to T and -a production subsidy equal to T. This illustrates that consumers are the ones who pay for a price floor enforced with a variable levy: part of what they pay goes to domestic farmers (area A), part of it goes to the EU budget (area B) and part is wasted (areas C 1 and C 2 ). Also notice that the price instability typical of food markets is eliminated for EU producers: only the tariff varies.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Uneven distribution of benefit EU farms are very heterogeneous:
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Uneven distribution of benefit Heterogeneity leads to uneven distribution of benefits. Price floors help all farmers but most of the gains go to large farmers who tend to be richer in the first place.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Changed circumstances and CAP problems Initially, the CAP made everyone happy: -higher and stable prices to farmers; -tariff revenue for the EU budget; -and consumers were also happy: more food and lower dependence on food imports; empathy with farmers. Post-war period saw productivity gains: the ‘green revolution’: -high guaranteed prices encourage investment; -output rises much faster than consumption; -EU becomes a net exporter of agricultural goods. Price floor cannot be maintained with a tariff: EU actually has to purchase the surplus food.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Changed circumstances and CAP problems
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Unintended consequences: budget problems CAP cost from 8% of EU budget in 1965 to 90% of EU budget in 1969.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Unintended consequences: storage and dumping Storage issue: wheat, beef and butter mountains. Dumping into international markets lead to international trade problems, with particular harm for developing countries.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Unintended consequences: farm income problem Despite massive budgetary cost, the CAP failed to bring the reward to farming in line with the incomes of average EU citizens. Farmers showed their discontent with the CAP by ‘voting with their feet’:
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Unintended consequences: CAP paradox How could farming be unattractive to the average farmer despite the CAP’s billions? Because of uneven payments.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Unintended consequences: other problems ‘Industrialization of farming’ had a negative environmental impact: -pollution; -animal welfare: ‘mad cow’ disease; ‘foot and mouth’ disease.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 The new economic logic of the CAP Political power of farms makes it infeasible to eliminate price floors: -farmers had invested heavily in restructuring their farms to focus on the goods most heavily supported by the CAP; -small farmers earned much less from the CAP but without the higher prices, many would be driven out of farming altogether. -and opinion polls show that most EU citizens support the CAP. It was impossible to just eliminate the price floor: lowering or elimination of price floors with compensation payments paid directly to farmland owners. To break the link between payments and overproduction, the payments were ‘decoupled’ = size of payment not related to the amount currently produced (set according to historical production levels).
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Decoupled payments The decoupling reform lowers the price to the world price. If farmers are fully compensated, the direct payments must equal a + b + c.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 CAP reform Supply control attempts in the 1980s’ to discourage production: generally failed. MacSharry Reforms (1992): -cap prices and compensate farmers with direct payments; -essential to complete the Uruguay Round. 2003 Reforms: similar to MacSharry reforms but not enough to allow Doha Round to finish. Health Check 2008: pushed the market orientation of the CAP even further and reduced amount of direct payments.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 CAP today Two pillar structure: -‘Single Payment Scheme’ (SPS) based on historical payments in EU15 while money per hectare in new member states Farmers must comply with various rules: ‘Good agricultural and environmental conditions’ and ‘Statutory management requirements’; -Rural Development: improving agricultural competitiveness; managing the land in an environmentally friendly, sustainable manner; improving the quality of life in rural areas. Over the period 2007-2013: increasing role of second pillar, especially in new member states.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 CAP today
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Remaining problems Not all of the payments are fully decoupled, so the production distortions persist in some sectors. Farmers only get half of the support: much of the support ends up in the pockets of input suppliers (e.g., non-farming landowners and agrochemical firms). Future reforms post 2013 (just announced but not yet approved): -an almost complete shift away from price support; -a fairer distribution of direct payments; -a ‘Green’ payment for preserving long-term productivity and ecosystems; -a simpler CAP.
© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012 Remaining problems Proposed shift of CAP money towards direct payments:
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2003 Common Agricultural Policy Chapter 8 The Economics of European Integration.
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