Study reckons Agenda 2000 may favour Highlands
Farm incomes in the Highlands and Islands would be about 10% above 1996 levels under the most likely subsidy arrangements in the Agenda 2000 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, according to a recent study.
The study, by the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), indicates that better times are around the corner – for those that can survive the present crisis.
The study concludes that the proposed “national envelope”, whereby the government would allocate part of the cattle headage payments on the basis of area of permanent pasture over five years old, “could prove very beneficial”.
Least affected by the reforms are the main sheep producing areas – Shetland, the Western Islands, Skye and Lochalsh and Lochaber.
Sir Fraser Morrison, HIE chairman, commented: “I think the reform of the CAP might in many respects be a much bigger issue for the Highlands and Islands than will be the outcome of Objective One.”
HIE has been lobbying the European commission for continued Objective One status for the Highlands and Islands after 1999.