managing natural resources: common agricultural policy

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Population and resources
Managing natural resources-common agricultural policy (CAP)
Used to try and create a sustainable food supply in the E.U. CAP was a result of food
shortages during and after WW2.
The CAP aims to ensure sustainability by providing farmers with subsidies (farmers paid by
government which was funded by the EU budget) to produce as much food as possible
(maximisation of resources). This created a guaranteed market for farmers. The subsidies
were diverted away from production to less production starting in the early 1990's. A policy
of set aside was introduced so farmers were given subsidies not to produce so much food
on 10% of their land as the previous scheme had been too successful leading to too much
food which was then wasted. This benefited larger farmers as they got larger subsidies as
well as arable farmers. Now the subsidies are given for environmental stewardship to
encourage them to grow food but also care for the environment. This maintains support for
farmers and improves the environment.
The CAP budget has now been reduced from 90% to 40% of the E.U. budget, which suggests
it has been successful as less needs to be spent on generating food.
Successes and problems of CAP
Interfered with market forces. Tariff on trade (limits) meant that world markets were
excluded. Food retailers had to buy food from within the E.U.
The tariff kept E.U. farmers in business and increased production, leading to
security of supply
Larger farmers have tended to benefit more as larger farms are able to produce more
as they have more land and therefore they get a larger subsidy. Smaller farms have
become dependent on the single farm payment in order to continue to farm.
Single farm payment made smaller farms more inefficient. Farmers are constrained by
the strict guidelines on what they can do in terms of hedge row removal, fertilizer
use, where they can graze cattle and dispose of farm waste.
Recently there has been a increase in biodiversity as a result of the single
farm payment
Scope for coastal protection schemes such as Abbots Hall farm in Essex,
which provided a single farm payment for managed retreat.
Led to maximisation of technology such as more fuel efficient tractors and
tax incentives


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