A Citizens' Agricultural Policy
This Citizens’ Agricultural Policy campaign advocates for farming policies that work for citizens and are made with citizens – in Scotland, the UK, and Europe.
The Citizens’ Agricultural Policy campaign was launched at the Towards a Citizens’ Agricultural Policy event, which took place in Edinburgh on 22-23 October 2015. Read our Conference Report here. The conference demonstrated that there is a strong case and broad support for a democratic reform of the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The report calls on everyone to become part of the movement for Agricultural Policy reform in order to achieve a fairer, more democratic, and more sustainable Food and Farming Policy.
This call for mobilisation is extremely relevant in the wake of Brexit. If the UK leaves the EU and therefore the Common Agricultural Policy, it will be even more important for all citizens in the UK to mobilise and effectively campaign for better food and farming policies in Scotland and the rest of the UK as replacement to the CAP.
We want a Citizens’ Agricultural Policy – what does that involve?
A more holistic approach
Agriculture should no longer be treated as a stand-alone issue. We need a policy that addresses agriculture and food and is informed by the wider context in which food is produced, processed, sold, and consumed. Public health and environmental concerns should be at the heart of future farming policies. We currently campaign for a Good Food Nation Bill that does just that; see more information about this campaign here.
Better governance and more democracy
The best way to ensure farming policies work for citizens, is to include citizens in the policy-making process. Farmers (not just their union) and citizens (not just major NGOs) should be involved in nation-wide debates about the future of food and farming. Do citizens want public money to keep supporting primarily large intensive farms? Do citizens want to continue subsidising the production of barley for whisky, rapeseed for biofuels, and beef fed by Brazilian soya, or would they rather their taxpayers’ money supports pesticide-free fruit and veg production? How do farmers think an agricultural policy can support them best to manage a viable business while producing food in a sustainable way?
A greener and healthier policy
A Citizens’ Agricultural Policy needs to support farmers who work in harmony with nature rather than against it. Tackling food waste (at all stages of supply chains), pollution, biodiversity decline, climate change, and supporting a shift towards healthier and more sustainable diets should all be at the heart of the new policy.
A fairer policy
CAP subsidies are currently distributed unevenly amongst farmers, both within and across EU countries. 70% of subsidies go to the 20% wealthiest farmers. CAP money is public money. Agricultural subsidies should be spent only to support farmers who deliver public goods – which can be social (care farming), cultural (preserving traditional landscapes), environmental (supporting biodiversity), or economic (creating jobs in rural areas). Farming subsidies should be distributed according to a fair system to reward good practice.
How do we get there?
While our politicians try to figure out what to do with Brexit, understanding the current Common Agricultural Policy is a crucial first step to be able to think about what is needed in its place. Read more about the CAP and CAP reform here.
In the meantime, thinking is going on in the Scottish Government as well as in Scottish civil society about the future of Scottish agriculture, read more here.
If you would like to be kept informed about this campaign, sign up to our Citizens’ Agricultural Policy mailing list here