Greening farm payments could be counter-productive - Farron
Plans to make the Common Agricultural Policy more green could backfire spectacularly, says South Lakes MP Tim Farron.
As the House of Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs select committee begins an inquiry into the greening of the CAP, Tim has called for the UK government to take a firm line defending the need for a growth in the British farming industry in order to meet domestic food needs. He fears that excessive additional environmental requirements will push farmers to the brink seeing a further decline in UK farming capacity, which would be bad news for the environment.
Since 1990, the UK has seen the proportion of food consumed from domestic sources drop by 20%. Given a 70% projected increase in world demand for food by 2050, Tim is concerned that the EU CAP reform may lead to a further decline in farming capacity.
Tim's comments come at a time when the Government's Chief Scientist Professor Sir John Beddington has raised concerns that current policies are not addressing the desperate need to increase food production.
Tim said "I am a committed environmentalist, but if we attach too many green strings to direct farm support the result could be that we simply force farmers out of business. This would lead to the UK importing even more of our food at a time of growing world demand. This would be a nightmare for our environment and could see dangerous price wars too. Our government must ensure that pillar one is used to increase farm output and food production, not to demoralise farmers by creating more hoops for them to jump through."