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Jabier Ruiz is senior policy officer for Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems at the WWF European Policy Office.
Over the last decades, we have been very successful in boosting agricultural production in Europe, but this has come at an enormous cost: we have irresponsibly increased pressure on nature, both inside and outside Europe, and we are rapidly depleting the natural resources that agriculture relies upon.
Despite previous reforms, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) largely continues to support a resource intensive and high impact agricultural model which is not fit for today’s societal and environmental challenges. And it is very unfair for the average farmer: 80% of all beneficiaries only receive 20% of CAP direct payments. The system is benefitting a rich elite while the majority of small and medium farmers struggle to make a living out of more sustainable farming.
The CAP must be urgently redesigned to really meet its main objective: support farmers, people and the environment. More sustainable, climate friendly and fairer farming practices need to be mainstreamed to offer an attractive and promising future for young farmers in Europe.