Farming Policy, Natural Policy

What is the Common Agricultural Policy or CAP? What was its origin and how has it evolved in the last decades? What influence does it have on the European environment? How does it affect you as a citizen?

Fundación Global Nature develops the “Farming Policy, Natural Policy” project whose main objective is to disseminate among Young citizens the creation of the CAP and the way it has evolved to face the most important challenges in the last decades.

Different workshops have been held in various Spanish regions where participants have debated about the CAP, the environment and youth employment. For more information, click here .

We dedícate a series of 11 radio podcasts with interviews with representatives of different entities who provide their opinion on this policy, its environmental aspects and its current challenges. We collaborate with Agencia EFE and the European University of Madrid to create these programmes.

Chapter 1. The origins of the CAP: from food mountains to crisis

The birth of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). What is the CAP? The need to feed a starving Europe against the backdrop of the post-war years. The 70s and 80s or the “food mountain” crisis. CAP expenditure rockets up. Implementation of the first control mechanisms.

Participants: Celsa Peiteado (Co-ordinator for Farming Policy and Rural Development in WWF Spain), Dionisio Ortiz (Lecturer in Rural and Agrarian Economics at the Polytechnic University in Valencia), Eduardo de Miguel (Managing Director of Fundación Global Nature), Enrique Bellés (Head of Fruit and Vegetables at the Federation of Agroalimentary Co-operatives in the Valencian Region), Joan Manuel Mesado (Technical Secretary of La Unió, the professional farming sector’s representative body in Valencia), Joan Ramón Peris (Director of the Valencian Research Institute and Agri-Environmental Training Foundation), Jordi Domingo (Project Manager at Fundación Global Nature) and Manuel Laínez (Director of the INIA, the Spanish National Agricultural Research Institute).

Chapter 2. The CAP at the close of the 20th century

At the end of the 20th century, the Rio Summit was hailed as a milestone and the environment became a concern in the farming sector. The first reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) consolidated the decoupling of financial assistance from production and the basis taken for calculation was the quality of the produce and the generation of environmental services by farmers. Green labels appeared. The Agenda 2000 established the two pillars of the CAP for the first time (the MacSharry Reform).

Participants: Celsa Peiteado (Co-ordinator for Farming Policy and Rural Development in WWF Spain), Dionisio Ortiz (Lecturer in Rural and Agrarian Economics at the Polytechnic University in Valencia), Eduardo de Miguel (Managing Director of Fundación Global Nature), Enrique Bellés (Head of Fruit and Vegetables at the Federation of Agroalimentary Co-operatives in the Valencian Region), Jordi Domingo (Project Manager at Fundación Global Nature), Joan Manuel Delgado (Technical Expert from the UPA – Union of Small Crop and Cattle Farmers), Juan José Oñate (Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the Autonomous University in Madrid) and Manuel Laínez (Director of the INIA).

Chapter 3. The 2003 reform and the medical check-up of the CAP

With the Agenda 2000, the CAP did a complete about-face. In barely 20 years, it went from subsidizing production to such key concepts as “Rural Development” or “Environmental Services”. Financial assistance is completely decoupled and conditionality is born in parallel with the growth of the EU itself to 27 members. In addition, a new structure is implemented for the CAP based on two pillars.

Participants: Almudena Gómez (Senior lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Valladolid), Celsa Peiteado (Co-ordinator for Farming Policy and Rural Development in WWF Spain), Dionisio Ortiz (Lecturer in Rural and Agrarian Economics at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences of the Polytechnic University in Valencia), Eduardo de Miguel (Managing Director of Global Nature), Enrique Bellés (Head of Fruit and Vegetables at the Federation of Agroalimentary Co-operatives in the Valencian Region), Gonzalo Palomo (Researcher and consultant in BBBFarming), Joan Manuel Mesado (Technical Secretary of La Unió) Jordi Domingo (Project Manager at Fundación Global Nature) and Juan José Oñate (Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the Autonomous University in Madrid).

Chapter 4. The CAP turns green: the “greening” of the First Pillar

The concept of “greening”, also referred to as “superconditionality”, arose with the aim of guaranteeing, through its most powerful instrument (Pillar 1), certain conditions for cultivating crops consistent with the conservation of biodiversity in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the challenge of climate change. It is an ambitious initiative as it is included in Pillar 1, classically a basic payment instrument for environmental issues of great significance. It is one more step on the road already started decades ago with Conditionality.

Participants: Enrique Bellés (Head of Fruit and Vegetables at the Federation of Agroalimentary Co-operatives in the Valencian Region), Ana Carricondo (Head of Agriculture and Rural Development at SEO/BirdLife), Eduardo de Miguel (Managing Director of Fundación Global Nature), Antonio Gamonal (A cattle farmer from Extremadura), Juan José Oñate (Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the Autonomous University in Madrid), Gonzalo Palomo (Researcher and consultant in BBBFarming) and Celsa Peiteado (Co-ordinator for Farming Policy and Rural Development in WWF Spain).

Chapter 5. The CAP today: the second pillar in detail

The second Pillar underwent major changes and is not exactly structured the same as in the previous planning period. Now it covers a suite of measures for rural development, retaining a good part of the previous blocks (agri-environmental, LEADER, quality, modernization, etc.). The most important novelty is perhaps that climate change and biodiversity are once more included fully in the second Pillar, as at least 30% of EAFRD funds (all of Pillar 2) must contribute to the improvement of biodiversity or the mitigation of/adaptation to climate change. In addition, it includes references on information sources about the CAP.

Participants: Ana Carricondo (Head of Agriculture and Rural Development at SEO/BirdLife), José Manuel (Delgado (Technical Expert from the UPA – Union of Small Crop and Cattle Farmers), Jordi Domingo (Project Co-ordinator at Fundación Global Nature), Almudena Gómez (Senior lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Valladolid), Juan José Oñate (Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the Autonomous University in Madrid), Dionisio Ortiz (Lecturer in Rural and Agrarian Economics at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences of the Polytechnic University in Valencia) and Celsa Peiteado (Co-ordinator for Farming Policy and Rural Development in WWF Spain).

Chapter 6. Legumes and steppe birds

The second block on “Farming Policy, Nature Policy” begins with a presentation of real examples of sustainable farming and husbandry in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy.

In this programme, we focus on a pioneering experience in support of the production and marketing of legumes developed by the Global Nature Foundation since 2009. It involves lentils and chickpeas grown within the Natura 2000 Network with environmentally-friendly certification. The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 2016 the “International Year of Legumes” in order to promote these crops, as they are very beneficial for the environment and have interesting nutritional qualities.

Participants: Lucía de la Rosa (Senior Scientist at the INIA), and Jordi Domingo and Carlos Zumalacárregui (Fundación Global Nature).

Chapter 7. Wetlands, agriculture and biodiversity

In this chapter, we look at real experiences in sustainable agriculture within the context of the Common Agriculture Policy with respect to wetlands. Examples are given of farming production and biodiversity conservation in the Ebro Delta, the Albufera in Valencia or the surroundings of Doñana led by the Assut Foundation, SEO/BirdLife and WWF Spain.

Participants: Juan Carlos Cirera (Director of RietVell), Bosco Díez (Project Director at Assut Foundation), Jordi Domingo (Project Manager at Fundación Global Nature) and Felipe Fuentelsaz (the Doñana Co-ordinator in WWF Spain).

Chapter 8. Meat under the spotlight: cattle rearing and animal welfare

We devoted this podcast to analysing real examples of cattle breeders whose animals graze on the Natura 2000 Network. We analysed how they contribute to preserving Europe’s natural heritage through competitiveness activities that combine high-quality products and animal wellbeing. They also explain what support they receive from the CAP.

Participants: Gerardo Báguena (Director of the Lammergeier Conservation Foundation), Michel Camps (Co-ordinator for territorial policy at GOB Minorca), Jordi Domingo and Laura García (Project Managers at Global Nature), and Enrique Vega (Cattle breeder and manager of dehesa grazing lands).

Chapter 9. Drink up biodiversity: sustainable vineyards

This podcast analyses the sustainable production of wine and the main challenges facing the grape and wine sector. We discuss the role of the Common Agricultural Policy in the current situation of transition towards a greater weighting for quality over quantity and the importance of sustainability in production.

Participants: José Castro (Project Director at La Unió), Jordi Domingo (Project Manager at Fundación Global Nature), Diego Fernández (Technical Director of Bodegas Enguera) and Arrutzi Nájera (Chief Consultant for wines, sparkling cavas and olive oil at Puntdesabor).

Chapter 10. Industrial crops

We focus this episode on the agro-alimentary industry, a sector of great relevance for the Spanish economy. We analyse the dual role of the Common Agricultural Policy: on the one hand, supporting an improvement in this industry’s competitiveness and stability; on the other hand, helping to limit the environmental impact of these intensive farming systems. We will see two examples: the case of industrialized tomatoes and the case of Pascual Quality.

Participants: Antonio Bernabé (Head of Agriculture at Conesa), Jordi Domingo (Project Manager at Global Nature), Rubén García (Head of Environment and Food and Agriculture Procurement at Pascual Quality) and Ricardo Migueláñez (General Manager of Agrifood Communication).

Chapter 11. CAP speaking. We give you a voice and respond to your doubts

In this last programme, we ask ourselves about the future of this Farming Policy, its prospects and the challenges it is facing in the upcoming planning period. What are the options for a Reform of the next plan starting from 2020? Will the CAP be affected by the current geopolitical uncertainty in the EU? Will we still have a CAP we can recognize? Which are the points under discussion in this respect?

Participants: Ana Carricondo (Head of Agriculture and Rural Development at SEO/BirdLife), José Castro (Project Director at La Unió), Jordi Domingo (Project Manager at Global Nature), Almudena Gómez (Senior lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Valladolid), Juan José Oñate (Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the Autonomous University in Madrid), Dionisio Ortiz (Lecturer in Rural and Agrarian Economics at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences of the Polytechnic University in Valencia) and Celsa Peiteado (Co-ordinator for Farming Policy and Rural Development in WWF Spain).

We want to hear your opinions and you can also send in your queries through our social media accounts (@FGlobalNature and www.facebook.com/lafundacionglobalnature) or by email (info@fundacionglobalnature.org).

We will shortly be organizing participatory workshops in several Regions, such as Castilla y León, the Valencian Region, Extremadura or Madrid.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication  reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Fundación Global Nature