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Stuart Agnew calls out for common sense in CAP
Date 02/06/2010 22:30  Author webmaster  Hits 1986  Language Global
 VIDEO 
• UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew called out for "a little bit of common sense" in the EU's agricultural policy, today in Brussels when he addressed the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development committee.
 
Speaking on the Ryan draft report "on the Future of the Commona Agricultural Policy after 2013" (CAP), Mr Agnew said "one of the political agendas is this obsession with climate change and that farmers can apparently do something about it."  He went on to point out  the "madness" of EU agricultural policy, such as forcing farmers to reduce their CO2 emissions at huge expense and crop loss.


"They will have to use expensive and complicated machinery that pumps the exhaust from their tractors back into the ground," Mr Agnew said. "If you are at all practical and you've ever driven a tractor with machinery behind it, you will know that trying to do this is very, very difficult and not only would it slow down the work progress but it will actually spoil the crop - you will upset the soil structure in trying to do it." 

"On the livestock side," he added, "we've been told that if we're going to reduce methane, we must feed animals ruminants, less grass and hay and silage, and more cereals. This is madness. What I'm so worried about is this sort of thing will come into cross compliance and if you're not doing these things your single farm payment would be docked."

Mr Agnew covered three other points in his intervention, including the EU's ban on rat poison ingredients. The report repeatededly mentions the word 'quality', Mr Agnew told fellow parliamentarians, "however, within this building we have a committee that's determined to reduce the quality of our food because they want to ban ten of the most effective ingredients of rat poisons. 
 
"Now, some of you may know a little about rats, and if you don't I'm going to tell you a little about them. They're very, very rapid breeders, they are clever, they are excelellent swimmers, climbers and jumpers, they can craw through holes the size of a penny, they have huge appetites and they are totally incontinent - whatever they come in contact with is infected," Mr Agnew said, referring to the EU's huge pressure on farmers to reduce Salmonella desease. 
 
"And yet, we have the European Union taking away the very things we need to control it."
 
"If the European Union gets a reputation for having rats on its farms, it's an open goal for imports. So, I suggest that we work very hard on this, to get some of the political aspirations and get a little bit of common sense into this," Mr Agnew concluded.
 
Stuart Agnew also spoke about the Single Farm Payment, which "is there to protect farmers against volatile prices," guaranteeing them an income in the face of market forces.
 
"The more the single farm payment is syphoned away from them..., the more difficult it is for them to be able to withstand this price volatility."
 
At the beginning of his intervention Mr Agnew questioned the report's claim that 40 million (8%) EU citizens do not have enough to eat. He said in Britain it could not be more than half a percent, which is similar to other countries in northern and western Europe. This means there are areas with rates as high as 20%. 
 
"That would be some sort of a scandal," Mr Agnew said. "I haven't heard about it until now. I wonder if these figures could be substantiated."
 
Full transcript:
 
I've got four points to make. The first is a question on page 5, paragraph O in this report - it states that there are 40 million people in the European Union who do not have enough to eat. That equates to about 8% of the population.  Well I know I can speak for Britain in that if it's half a percent that's all it is, and that's probably similar in most of the north and western countries of the European Union. That means these hungry people are being concentrated into other parts of the European Union, which could be as high as 20%. That would be some sort of a scandal. I haven't heard about it until now. I wonder if these figures could be substantiated.
 
Secondly, the Single Farm Payment is there to protect farmers against volatile prices. It gurantees them an income so that they can respond to market forces and reduce their production in the face of surpluses. The more the single farm payment is syphoned away from them, in Pillar II and all sorts of political agendas, the more difficult it is for them to be able to withstand this price volatility. 
 
One of the political agendas is this obsession with climate change and that farmers can apparently do something about it. We heard in January what farmers will have to do if they want to reduce their CO2 emissions. They will have to use expensive and complicated machinery that pumps the exhaust from their tractors back into the ground. If you are at all practical and you've ever driven a tractor with machinery behind it, you will know that trying to do this is very, very difficult and not only would it slow down the work progress but it will actually spoil the crop - you will upset the soil structure in trying to do it. We had experience with this when we try to inject things like dirty water into the ground to satisfy EU regulations, etc.
 
On the livestock side, we've been told that if we're going to reduce methane, we must feed animals ruminants, less grass and hay and silage, and more cereals. This is madness. What I'm so worried about is this sort of thing will come into cross compliance and if you're not doing these things your single farm payment would be docked.
 
Finally the report mentions several times the word 'quality'. Yes of course we want to produce quality food and I have to sell eggs to consumers and I want to guarantee their quality. However, within this building we have a committee that's determined to reduce the quality of our food because they want to ban ten of the most effective ingredients of rat poisons. Now, some of you may know a little about rats, and if you don't I'm going to tell you a little about them. They're very, very rapid breeders, they are clever, they are excelellent swimmers, climbers and jumpers, they can craw through holes the size of a penny, they have huge appetites and they are totally incontinent - whatever they come in contact with is infected. One of the problems is Salmonella. Now the EU is putting huge pressure on farmers to try to reduce Salmonella. We need to keep rats and mice off our farms if we're going to achieve this. And yet we have the European Union taking away the very things we need to control it.
 
If the European Union gets a reputation for having rats on its farms, it's an open goal for imports. So, I suggest that we work very hard on this, to get some of the political aspirations and get a little bit of common sense into this. Thank you.
 
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