1 September 1995

CAP: Failed in its objectives

GOVERNMENTS will intrude even more in individual farm decisions and EU common agricultural policy rules will become still more complex.

That is the forecast of US academic Prof D Johnson of Chicago University in a report* on the effects of CAP reform published by the right wing Centre for Policy Studies.

Prof Johnson says despite the switch to direct payments to farmers the CAPs total cost will remain largely unchanged in the foreseeable future.

Future reforms should take into account that despite the immense costs borne by consumers and taxpayers the CAP had failed to achieve one of its fundamental purposes – preventing the decline in farm employment.

It had also failed to slow the "desertification" of the countryside and had created difficulties for new entrants by making land more expensive.

The EUs failure to collect adequate income data made it difficult to form a clear picture, but the CAP had also shown itself an extremely inefficient way of improving farmers incomes he added.

*Less Than Meets the Eye, CPS, £5.95.