CAP REFORM must be far more radical to help third-world farmers, said Kevin Watkins, formerly of Oxfam and newly appointed director of the UN‘s Human Development Report Office, at the Labour Party Conference on Tuesday (Sept 28).

“Three quarters of all people in the world who live on less than a dollar a day are farmers, and their livelihoods are undermined by the CAP.

“Frankly, what has happened in the name of CAP reform doesn‘t go anywhere near far enough,” Mr Watkins said.

He acknowledged that some improvement has been made and that decoupling will help, but he made it clear that more radical reforms are needed.

Mr Watkins spoke at an Oxfam meeting where DEFRA junior minister Lord Whitty and NFU president Tim Bennett both said the EU‘s plans to scrap export subsidies should be good news for developing countries.

But Mr Watkins was not impressed: “We do have a broad degree of agreement in principle about eliminating export subsidies, but no deadline has been set for this to happen, and that‘s not good enough.”

He was particularly scathing about the sugar industry, calling the EU sugar regime a Bolshevik price system and claiming that some people in the sugar industry “wouldn‘t recognise a market if they walked into one”.