Program and videos
All the versions of this article: [English] [français]
March 31, 2011: The organisation of agricultural market regulation in the EU
08.00-09.00 : Welcome of participants: registration, badge pick-up, and coffee/tea
Session 1 : Will the European Commission’s proposed instruments to regulate the agri-food markets suffice?
The overwhelming majority of the common agricultural policy’s instruments up until 1992 were based on regulating the European Community’s domestic markets. The next twenty years were ones of the gradual dismantling of the EU’s market management instruments and institution of an income support system in which support was increasingly decoupled from production in parallel with alignment of interior market prices with international market prices. Given the difficulties with which European farmers are grappling in the face of often too low and increasingly volatile prices, the European Commission is now proposing to maintain instruments for minimal regulation alongside the income support scheme. Will these instruments suffice, in view of commodity price volatility and the difficulty farmers have keeping their operations in the black?
09h35-10h00 : Debate
Session 2 : To get market-oriented production, is it preferable to rely on market organisation or decoupled support? Moreover, shouldn’t this orientation be challenged?
To guarantee the future of European agriculture, the Commission wants to bolster farmers’ competitiveness by encouraging farmers to adapt to market conditions. Yet the decoupled support scheme set up in the EU has led to a situation in which the bulk of farm income and profitability comes from massive public financial support with the risk of seeing this support challenged in the long run. Is that the best way to get market-oriented production? What is more, is this goal of market-oriented production justified to ensure European agriculture’s future?
10.15-10.25 : Jean-Christophe Kroll, Agrosup Dijon, Economics and Sociology Department, France
10.25-11.00 : Debate
Session 3 : Will collective marketing and the other instruments proposed by the Commission for the dairy sector bolster producers’ market power sufficiently?
What are the possible avenues for improving farmers’ market power? Will the instruments that the Commission is proposing to institute suffice to give a sufficient number of producers market power? Besides this, isn’t a minimum amount of market regulation necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of instruments intended to increase producers’ market power?
12.05-12.35 : Debate
Session 4: Do market regulation and supply management instruments require fewer budgetary and administrative resources than decoupled direct payments?
Comparative analysis of the budgetary costs of the current decoupled support scheme and a supply-side management scheme.
14.00-14.15 : Michel Jacquot, lawyer, member of the Agriculture Academy of France, former director of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)
14.15-15.00 : Debate
Session 5: By preventing price risks, isn’t market regulation the best form of collective insurance?
By preventing price level and volatility risks upstream, doesn’t sufficient agricultural market regulation make it possible to save on insurance and other downstream risk management schemes?
15.45-16.30 : Debate
April 1, 2011: What ‘farm structures’ policy for the CAP?
08.30-09.00 : Welcome, coffee & tea
Session 1 : Shouldn’t the changes that European farm structures are undergoing be challenged?
Farm structures in the European Union are adjusting constantly, and these adjustments are leading to ever more concentration with a drop in the number of farms and increase in the sizes of those that remain. This increase in size, which is generally synonymous with intensification and specialisation in actual practice, has been attended by environmental problems. What is more, the depopulation of the countryside generates many socio-economic problems. When taken to the extreme, the disappearance of family farming and these farmers’ know-how raises the question of how the EU can maintain its productive capacity to ensure its food security. An answer based on the concentration of agricultural production in the hands of agri-food concerns controlling the entire commodity chain would appear to be mistaken in view of the environmental, health, social, and even democratic dangers that this would raise. It thus appears relevant to challenge the phenomenon of agricultural concentration: Is it unlimited? Is it economically justified? Does it allow the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of production in the EU?
09.10-09.25 : Changes in farm structures from 1960 to 2010 and current picture. What are the main factors behind these trends? Philippe Lebailly, agronomist, lecturer at the University of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Belgium.
09.25-09.45 : How does concentration affect the social and environmental sustainability of agriculture?
11.15-11.45 : Debate
Session 2: What about the EU’s farm structures policies? What impact does the CAP have on farm structures’ development?
The CAP’s choice of farm support instruments is not neutral in terms of either cost and equity or impact on farm structures. Yet, since the Mansholt Plan the Commission has not set any clear policy on farm structures. We can deduce that the structures will develop according to the conditions in the markets, markets that the European Commission wants to be free or subject to minimal regulation. And yet it has clearly set out its objectives of maintaining production in ‘unfavourable’ areas and of maintaining the diversity of production structures through direct payments. However, can these objectives be achieved by the current and future system, based on direct payments (despite extremely limited recoupling of the support to production)? Aren’t these objectives contrary to those of competitiveness? Are there other effective tools that the CAP could use to counter this concentration movement? Finally, aren’t we lacking a serious debate about the farm structures in the EU?
14.00-14.15 : The CAP’s influence on changing farm structures. Has the CAP amplified or mitigated the concentration of farms overall? Effect of decoupled support. Alfons Balmann, IAMO(Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe), Germany
15.00-15.30 : Debate
Session 3: Can family farming co-exist with ‘corporate farming’ unscathed?
The small farms that dominate the sector in the new Member States are deemed to be unproductive and rapid restructuring is called for, whilst corporate farming – large agricultural concerns – is making huge gains in these lands. Is the viability of family farming jeopardised by the spread of corporate farming? Shouldn’t a new CAP be accompanied by agrarian reform?
16.00-16.25 : Structural changes in family and corporate farming in the new Member States of the EU and in Eurasia.
16.25-15.40 : Experience of co-existence of family farms and corporate farming: the case of Brazil (CANCELLED)
16.40-17.15 : Debate