As the CAP reform process enters a crucial phase, an interesting report, published by Veterinarios Sin Fronteras (VSF) in Spain, confirms the existing unfair allocation of payments among the CAP beneficiaries.
This is the second year that Veterinarios Sin Fronteras has analysed the data. The most recent report, which looks at 2011 figures, was published in May 2012. Apparently, this act of transparency was against the will of the government who had to bow to the will of public pressure…But why? What were the governments hiding from their tax payers?
According to VSF the majority of CAP money is not destined to help farmers (as expected) but rather a handful of companies whose income statements don’t exactly suggest that they are among the most in need of public aid.
I was rather surprised to read that among the lucky recipients of European public funds (meaning our money) were big brands and companies with million of euros in sales. To state only a but a few were Nestle, Unilever, Carrefour, Lidl and in Spain the juice producer Don Simon, the food producer Campofrío and the supermarket Mercadona. Apparently, the parent company of Don Simon received 5.5 million euros, Campofrío 2 million euros and the Mercadona supermarket chain received 2.6 million Euros.
In Spain, 75% of the money still goes to 16% of beneficiaries, while 50% of people who have received aid, received amounts under 1,250 €. Among the major beneficiaries of these subsidies are well-known big land owners.
The report highlights the huge contrast between these figures and the actual agrarian situation in Spain. Family farming is suffering from unprecedented prices, crushed by an increasingly powerful agribusiness and aggressive supermarkets. Unable to receive fair and decent prices for their products (as a pricing policy is lacking), thousands of family farms are being forced to close down each year, some being literally “evicted” from their land and farms because of market pressure, including speculations.
VSF finds the EU Commission proposals for the new CAP reform more than disappointing. Ferran Garcia member of the organisation said:
“In the same way that banks are rescued with public money, through the CAP we rescue agribusiness and supermarkets while the farmers suffer from extremely low prices. A CAP that promotes unfair prices and aid is not a good CAP. The CAP should be for everyone, not for the 1%. The aim of CAP should be the price stability, the family farming and the locals food systems.”