Building a European farming and food sector which is truly modern, competitive, innovative and sustainable needs appropriate financing so farmers can adapt to a changing world.
Through the common agricultural policy (CAP) – and more specifically the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD) – the EU has a role to play in supporting agriculture, agri-food, forestry and rural entrepreneurship.
Placing the family farm model firmly at the centre of a future CAP, the European Union’s agri-food sector needs to keep up with the 21st century, with a stronger emphasis on innovation, sustainability and quality, according to Phil Hogan, commissioner for agriculture and rural development, speaking at the third annual EU conference on EAFRD financial instruments in Paris, France, on 10 October.
Innovation, sustainability and quality require access to finance
“My key message to you today is that investment is absolutely essential for this process,” said Hogan. “We need to provide farmers, agri-food operators and rural entrepreneurs with the full range of financing possibilities existing under the EAFRD, so that they are in a position to compete fairly with all other economic sectors which already benefit from cohesion policy or other EU-level financing.” In parallel, risk management tools need to be reinforced to help farmers and food businesses to face challenges such as price volatility, pressure on incomes or risks stemming from climate change, Hogan added.
“As you are aware, we will publish a Communication on modernising and simplifying the CAP later this year, and the financing dimension of this key document needs to be clear, explicit and strong,” concluded Hogan.
Delegates at the conference were also given the opportunity to learn about how financial instruments are being put to use in different European Union countries and regions, what support options are available for agriculture and rural development, and how learning from best practice can help improve growth and productivity.