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November 5, 2002

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Is there a future for European farming?

Chris Haskins

The farming community in Europe has had a very tough few years, especially in the UK. The natural reaction is to keep firm hold of what they do have, especially in the form of subsidies. It is not surprising that many people view moves to reform the CAP with suspicion.

But there is no reason that farming could not have a viable and successful future in Europe. All the key attributes are there, from farmers’ resourcefulness, to the rapidity of technological change, through to the fact that a reformed CAP will still reward farmers who deserve support.

This essay argues that, whatever happens in the protracted negotiations about the CAP, farming can flourish in Western Europe. It may require a change of mindset from farmers – and they may have to be entrepreneurial in their approach to markets. But the farming community should not resist change just because it is change.

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