Common Agriculture Policy

Agriculture is the main economic activity in many mountain areas. It is characterised by extensive production systems, low inputs, limited yields and high-quality products. However, mountain agriculture is threatened by land abandonment and climate change. Euromontana calls for a Common Agricultural Policy that strongly supports the sustainable development of mountain agriculture.

Ensuring a fair income for farmers and the continuation of mountain farming

Mountain farming plays a key role in Europe’s agricultural production. It accounts for 18% of farms, 15% of the utilised agricultural area and 15% of the agricultural workforce in the European Union. Mountain products are renowned for their quality and farming practices for their extensive approach. However, due to the geographical constraints of mountain areas, agricultural productivity is 40% lower and farmers’ incomes 20.4% lower than in other areas. Mountain areas are also among the most vulnerable to land abandonment. Euromontana therefore calls for increased support from the Common Agricultural Policy for mountain farming to ensure fair and secure incomes, maintain mountain farming and promote quality products. Euromontana brings the voice of mountain farming in the European Commission’s DG AGRI Civil Dialogue Groups on the CAP, on environment & climate change and on quality & promotion, as well as within the EU CAP network.

We call for

  • Maintaining a significant allocation for the payments for Areas with Natural Constraints within the CAP. ANC payments accounts for around 20% of the total CAP support received on average by mountain farmers and are therefore crucial for the continued viability of these farms.
  • Providing more support for small farmers and pluri-active farmers. They play an essential role in mountain areas, where they are more represented than in other regions due to the average size of farms, the increased seasonality of production and the close links with other value chains such as tourism.
  • Boosting support for new farmers and access to land. Mountain areas are faced both with land abandonment challenges and difficult access to land, two major obstacles for young farmers. Euromontana calls for increased support for setting-up in mountain areas.
  • Promoting mountain products for their higher quality and environmental benefits to bring added value in mountain areas.

Promoting the environmental benefits of mountain farming

Mountain farming is characterised by extensive practices and low use of chemical inputs. It provides a wide range of ecosystem services that benefit the fragile mountain environment. By subsidising mountain farming through the payment for Areas with Natural Constraints, the CAP helps to maintain extensive practices, to preserve biodiversity and to ensure good water management. Euromontana calls for greater recognition of the environmental and climate benefits provided by mountain farmers.

We call for

  • Maintaining the ANC payments in the calculation of the environmental and climate objectives of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
  • Valuing the ecosystem services provided by mountain farmers. According to Member States, eco-schemes allow pastoral practices and agro-ecological methods to be rewarded. However, to ensure that these schemes are effective for the environment and viable for beneficiaries, criteria need to be long-term and stable.
  • Strengthening local and regional agricultural and agri-food supply chains to increase regional added value and limit emissions by avoiding unnecessary transport of goods.

Strengthening rural development for vibrant communities

Agriculture makes a major contribution to the vitality of rural areas, but beyond agriculture, mountain areas need coherent rural development policies to ensure the quality of life of local communities and prevent depopulation. The post-2027 perspective offers an opportunity to rethink the budget and the coherence of policies and to fully align them with the objectives of the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas.

We call for

  • Fully integrating the objectives of the Rural Vision into the post-2027 CAP for stronger, more prosperous, resilient and connected rural areas.
  • Strengthening the rural development budget in the post-2027 Common Agricultural Policy. Strong support for rural development is needed to make these areas attractive and dynamic places to live and work.
  • Promoting a multi-fund approach and greater synergies between the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy.