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Smart Taxes Submission to CAP Reform

Smart Taxes Submission to CAP Reform Consultation 11.6.2020

Question 1 : Why do we need a European common agricultural policy?

We must create the market, regulatory and custodian conditions for our children’s security. The market does not currently account for environmental and social capital that needed to support us into the future. There are two main ways to fix this, regulation and through propertising, protecting and charging for the use of the natural and virtual commons. The first has succeeded only partly but is a very necessary condition for the second in a new common agricultural policy. This involves Trusts with appropriate remits as custodians of important commons e.g. River Basins, Carbon Sinks, Biodiversity, Fishery, Atmosphere Trusts etc. The Trusts set sustainability metrics and charge accordingly, distributing receipts to the beneficiaries. People who use less than average will gain, those who overuse or abuse lose. Farmers who practice carbon saving, biodiversity enhancing practices will succeed in the marketplace.

Question 2 : What do citizens expect from agriculture?

Security, safety and healthiness of the food supply is their priority. This can only be delivered by conserving bio-systems and natural resources as the foundation for agriculture. Secondly they want the benefits of a clean, diverse and stimulating environment for their physical and mental health. Thirdly, they want risk reduced and resilience to future shocks such as fossil fuel, water, phosphorus and other essential natural resource scarcity enhanced. They value the variety and uniqueness of local food products over bland uniformity. They want local food and farmers protected against low standard competition. A low price for food without all the above is worthless.

Question 3 : Why reform the CAP?

The CAP SFP has created distortions in competition and in price of land in Ireland. It rewards those who built high production in the reference period and discouraged innovation and new entrants to farming. A level playing field is required based on current practices and production. Large intensive farming especially tillage was incentivised; family farms with high food quality, environmental and social benefits lost out. It was based on a fossil fuel and fertilizer model that is inherently unsustainable. Farmers and foresters should be better rewarded for bio-system and diversity maintenance. Remuneration was based outputs not real outcomes i.e. real improvement in water quality or increase in soil or forest cover carbon. A new CAP must also establish agriculture’s claim to food waste to close the nutrient cycle in a new sustainable CAP.

Question 4 : What tools do we need for the CAP of tomorrow?

Independent agencies such as Trusts to monitor, manage and charge for commons resources and reward those who add to them. Real-time satellite monitoring for soil and forest cover carbon sequestration. Payments based on verifiable outcomes. Deductions for loss of carbon, biodiversity water quality in agriculture and forest cover. Special bonuses for increased biodiversity as most threatened resource. New standards and tracing systems tailored to small-scale local food production. Consumers better represented in agricultural agencies. A substantial quota of cleaned production and consumption food-waste reserved for agriculture to close the nutrient cycle, process damaging farm waste and support rural bio-energy production. Measures to make land available to new entrants to agriculture including horticulture and forestry.

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