A British junior minister yesterday added scientific research to the list of items that he believes should qualify for CAP Pillar II. Lord Taylor of Holbeach told delegates at a Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum on reforming the CAP that Pillar II should fund “…research and development for productive agriculture…” as well as supporting existing environmental measures and rural development.
The DEFRA Under-Secretary of State for Food And Rural Affairs also suggested that private research money should be match-funded out of EU Pillar II funds and advocated the use of test groups to adopt and test innovations. He opened by describing existing agricultural policies as “…unfit for purpose…” and welcomed the forthcoming CAP reform negotiations as a “…rare…” opportunity to address a number of issues.
He set out an array of mutually exclusive targets that he claimed were DEFRA’s aims for future talks. These were: greater value for money; productivity and sustainability; biodiversity and the result will need to be a resilient package that “…needs to avoid distorting trade.”
Lord Taylor repeated the UK’s position on backing for keeping Pillar II measures and cutting Pillar I measures, adding that the “…UK must be a constructive contributor to CAP reform.” What he likes about Pillar II funding is that it allows for “…flexible implementation…”, although funds “…need to be allocated in an objective (sic) way.”