Sir: The EU parliament’s vote on Common Agricultural Policy reform has done nothing to control the destructive forces of industrial agriculture (‘CAP reforms leave farmers and green groups at loggerheads’, thegrocer.co.uk, 14 March).
MEPs ignored demands that farmers should provide public goods in exchange for their subsidies, ignored the pleas for mandatory crop rotation to repair exhausted soils and ignored the proposal by the Committee on Development to regulate export subsidies that result in EU products being dumped on vulnerable less developed countries. Instead they voted for a CAP that gives 80% of the €40bn annual budget to large farms and only 20% to the millions of small- and medium-scale farmers, ignoring growing public opposition to industrial farming.
Organisations such as Friends of the Earth, La Via Campesina and the food sovereignty movement must raise awareness of the damage done by the neo-liberals and agri-industrial lobby.
Most NGOs involved in agriculture are protectionists who want to protect the skills and livelihoods of farmers by paying them a fair farmgate price, but also limiting their production so surplus products don’t flood other farmers’ regional markets.
It’s time to take food and farming out of trade treaties devised by the EU and the World Trade Organisation, and follow other countries where protectionist and environmental recommendations have been enacted successfully.
Tracy Worcester, founder, Farms Not Factories