With the CAP budget under severe threat, promotion measures are key to the long term success of European Agriculture

Recent rumours indicate that the spending plan for the Common Agriculture Policy post 2013 includes at least a €25.5 billion cut to the CAP budget. While there is still no agreement reached on the future budget, it is clear that European Agriculture will be put under pressure. 

Ireland East MEP and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Liam Aylward, has stated that a strong promotional policy will communicate the value of European agriculture at local and regional level but most importantly to new and emerging markets outside the EU.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on “Promoting the Tastes of Europe” the Ireland East MEP stated:

“With agriculture slipping down the list of priorities for the EU budget it is clear that the export potential of European produce must be fully realised and supported if European agriculture is to continue to thrive.”

As his group’s principal negotiator on this Report, the Ireland East MEP highlighted that his priority was to ensure that European promotional schemes would be simplified, accessible to producers and supported with a strong budget line.

“At less than 1% of the total CAP spending, it is clear that promotion is grossly overlooked. Increased and targeted funding is essential to ensure that European farmers become increasingly competitive and effective in the market, both within the EU and in external markets.”

The MEP reminded the Parliament that agriculture is an innovative industry which should have its efforts supported and bolstered by a strong promotion policy, which is accessible to producers and understood by consumers.

“The AGRI-food sector is a strong sector. The food industry is the biggest employer in manufacturing in Europe with 4.2 million jobs. It is one of Ireland’s most important indigenous manufacturing sectors, accounting for employment of around 150,000 people. It includes approximately 600 food and drinks firms throughout the country which export 85% of our food to more than 160 countries worldwide.”

“Given that Irish food and drink exports increased by 12% last year, reaching close to €9 billion, it is evident that this is a sector which has the potential to be the catalyst for economic growth. It must be prioritised and supported with a robust budget.”