Urgent change needed to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español] [français]

Biodiversity degradation, groundwater and surface water pollution, loss of fertility of arable land, deforestation, animal abuse, health of consumers and also of farmers who use pesticides and other insecticides, ruin of food crops in southern countries affected by subsidised exports from dominant capitalist countries; these are the evils of today’s industrial agriculture supported by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

By Marc Mangenot (Fondation Copernic)

A deadly industrial agriculture

Organisations everywhere are denouncing these harmful consequences of the common agricultural policy, supported by the European Union’s largest budget. For a long time now, the primary objective of agriculture has no longer been to feed the populations of the territories where it is practiced. Farms of hundreds and thousands of hectares, tens of thousands of head of livestock or poultry, equipped with oversized equipment, increasingly expensive, ruinous for small and medium-sized farmers, agriculture has itself become an industry, subject to the big banks, linked to agribusiness firms (chemists, seed companies, mechanics, food processors) and large retailers. The harmful consequences in the field of health or environment, which are increasingly visible, do not seem to (yet) move political leaders in Europe and in the world, who are subject to the pressure groups that are very present and very influential in Brussels in particular.

Resistance and alternatives

Resistance is developing, including in Europe. Alternatives are proposed. But the voices of resistance and alternatives are suppressed. Propaganda orchestrated by large corporations, misleading or concealing advertising, the omnipresence of multinational agribusiness corporations, the cowardice of most policies prevent the emergence of appropriate, effective solutions to feed all populations in a healthy way. Because it brings a lot of money to firms, the quantitative, without concern for the health of populations and the environment, is preferred.

Politicians are deceived when they are not voluntary accomplices to the sirens of multinational corporations. What do they really know about agro-ecology, sustainable methods using adapted mechanical techniques that respect the environment? Apparently little, except to consider them less important than the power of financial and agribusiness firms. Awareness is needed in the political field.

Demonstration in Strasbourg for another CAP

Following the call of the French collective Pour une autre PAC and the German collective Wir Haben Es Satt, several farmers’ organisations, citizens, consumers, international solidarity organisations and a number of environmental associations took part in an "agroparade" on 22 October from the University’s place to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The demonstration, preceded by tractors, brought together about a thousand peaceful participants who carried the slogan "let’s not leave the CAP in the hands of agribusiness". They affirmed that agriculture and food are the concern of all citizens, peasants and inhabitants. They have arguments. They are carrying experience and hope.

The demonstration was received by around 15 MEPs (S&D, Greens, United Left). In the afternoon, meetings were organised in the Parliament building with European parliamentarians to share proposals for a new CAP, in order to get out of a disastrous situation that is worsening and to move towards farming and livestock practices that are nourishing, respectful of health and the environment.

While MEPs were expected to decide on the composition of the new Commission and soon resume discussions on the new Common Agricultural Policy, this important event will be followed by other actions and interventions in different parts of the European Union.

For more information:
France :

Europe :

World :