To youth about Common Agricultural Policy

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend

According to the experiences, youth primarily make judgements about agriculture and the support mechanism attached to it through what they have read or stories over-exposed by the media, often influenced by alter-globalisational opinions.

There are many who say that the period after the EU-accession was not about the successes of the Hungarian agrarian sector. Although the agriculture of our country has its better years and lucky sections, a part of the farmers and the society thinks that the processes of the last years were rather a failure. Many blame CAP for these fiascos and unsuccessfulness. But if we examine the facts and numbers of the last period without emotions and prejudice, we can see that CAP rather helped to the actors of agriculture.
Therefore, we thought that it is important to let youth showing interest to this topic to get to know CAP without prejudice, since – even if not consciously – they meet with it day by day. To achieve this goal, AGRYA organised a workshop for youth in Budapest between 23-24 September 2011, where the acclaimed experts of EU regulations tried to introduce to the youth facts and contexts, the future of agriculture and CAP that governs it. The event was opened by György Czerván, State Secretary for Agricultural Economy.
The first presentation of the workshop gave answer to the question, why is CAP a cornerstone of European integration and why do we need it in the future. Dr. Gergely Papp stressed in his presentation that the main aims of the CAP starting to build up has been the modernisation of agriculture, the improvement of agricultural income, the handling of agro-market's instability and broadening the food supply from the beginning, with reasonable prices for the consumers. The other presenter, Dr. Csaba Pesti presented the effect of the EU's plan for the 2014-2020 multi-annual financial framework to CAP, and the effect it would have on member states that fit into three categories: those where the support per hectare does not reach the 90 percent of EU-27's average, those where it is higher than that but lower than 100 percent and those where it is higher than 100 percent. After this, Dr. Szabolcs Bíró's presentation about Hungarian land policy was next, which he started with the maxima: “we didn't inherit the land from our fathers, we loaned it from our grandchildren”. Therefore, it is needed – besides enhancing competitiveness and efficiency – to put emphasis on  environment and landscape protection serving the improvement of rural life standards, and employment, with which – besides the conservation of agricultural production's diversity, the connections between producers based on mutual benefits, taking social usefulness into regard – the potential in agriculture could be exposed more successfully. Dr. Miklós Weisz was next, who talked about the support opportunities given to young farmers, since one of CAP's biggest challenge is whether it can make the alarmingly ageing European farmer society more young. Dr. Anikó Juhász talked about the Hungarian effects of EU policies concerning the quality of food products. The actuality of the topic had been given by the voluntary quality systems' seemingly unstoppable spreading in both their numbers and spheres of authority. The subject of the presentation were voluntary standards and certification systems based on them, Dr. Gyöngyi  Kürthy talked about enhancing innovation and competitiveness, strengthening the economical structure, and the opportunities and challenges of CAP connected to it. In her presentation, she shared the model based on extensive theoretical and empirical research in the field of innovation and competition, in which the relationship of market competition and the strength of innovation van be represented by a reverse U-shaped curve.
Dr. Lajos Mikula talked about Hungarian implementation of CAP, more narrowly, about agricultural and rural development subsidies, their system, the measures of the New Hungary Rural Development Plan, their finance, and direct EU subsidies (area-based subsidies – SAPS, agro-market subsidies).Lastly, Dr. Eszter Hamza summarised the position of member states about the expected CAP after 2013 based on member state opinions collected by the Hungarian Research Institute of Agricultural Economics – that we can assume from the average sum of direct subsidies per hectare –, that roughly determines the opinion of each member state about the future of CAP.

At the second day, the young ones had the chance to have a discussion in the framework of a roundtable debate about the theoretical presentations heard on the workshop's first day, their opinions, questions about CAP. The online form filled in by the young participants before the workshop provided an interesting starting point for this common discussion, that also reflected their opinion regarding CAP. The theoretical discussion way complemented effectively by the next item of the programme, the evaluation of Rural Adventures Programme, at which the young ex-members of it, farmers, State Secretary for Rural Development Zsolt V. Németh, and those who were interested in the Programme participated.
One of the Adventurers has summerised the tasks and impressions recieved at the briefing:
„The second day of the workshop brought new adventures for us and farmers as well. As their first task, adventurers and farmers formed couples to tell those present how their common time has passed. In the course of this, they had to switch tasks, meaning I had to present the experiences of my host farmer, as they had been my own, and vice versa. Needless to say, a very cheerful mood took over the group as the first farmer speaker started to talk as an adventurer, and said: „When the stench of the barn hit me, I started to glimpse, where I was. Was I really into this? Get up at dawn? For 5 days?” The farmers' experiences as presented by the adventurers has also been much fun to listen to. „I was a bit afraid of who would come here. When I finally saw his weak constitution, I suddenly wandered to lock him up in the room, not to put him into any trouble.”
Later that day the discussion went on without this role switching. An adventurer talked about how he is trying to find his place back in the city, since he still misses the calm rural atmosphere, the smell and the nearness of nature. I think, that holds true for all of us, since a new world has opened up for us during these visits, hitherto only heard of, read about or seen in movies. This time have been the protagonists of this time and space travel, for which we remain grateful. The results speak for themselves. Our perspectives and characters have reformed in a way that is here to stay for a lifetime. We pay much more heed to what we eat, what raw materials we use in our kitchen. (Since then cooking takes more than 20 minutes, but I do not mind at all. :) Our mutual prejudices about cities or countryside have been terminated by the days of hard work together. Whenever rural people or rurality is verbally abused in our presence, we immediately correct such mistaken posititons.
Speaking on behalf of all us I daresay, that the programme has achieved its goals, and it even went beyond. It helped to give an overview and a ground for a healthy understanding of our surroundings. As one adventurer has summarised his experiences: „If you don't know what you miss, it'll not hurt.
Thank you for the opportunity!”