Managing natural resources: Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

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Global issues population and resources
Managing natural resources- Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
Used to try and create a sustainable food supply in the EU. CAP was a result of
food shortages during and after WW2.
The CAP aims to ensure sustainability by providing farmers with subsidies to
produce as much food as possible (maximisation of resources). This created a
guaranteed market for farmers. The subsidies were gradually diverted away from
production. 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 being wasted. This benefitted larger
farmers as they got bigger subsidies. Now the subsidies are given for
environmental stewardship to encourage farmers to grow food but also care for
the environment. The CAP budget has been reduced from 90% to 40% of the EU
budget suggesting it has been successful as less needs to be spent on generating
Successes and failures of the CAP
Interfered with market forces. Tariff on trade limits meant that world
markets were excluded. Food retailers had to buy food from within the EU.
The tariff kept EU farmers in business and increased production, leading to
security of supply
Larger farms have benefitted more as they can produce more and
therefore get larger subsidies. Smaller farmers have become more
dependent on the single farm payment.
Single farm payment made smaller farms more inefficient. Farmers are
constrained by strict guidelines on what they can do in terms of hedge row
removal, fertilizer use, where they can graze cattle and dispose of farm
Recently there has been an increase in biodiversity as a result of the single
farm payment
Scope for coastal protection schemes such as the Abbot's hill 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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