Reduction of poverty rates in rural areas among findings of CAP assessment

The Common agricultural policy (CAP) is increasingly market oriented, leading to an increase in EU competitiveness and trade performance. Supporting around 7 million beneficiaries, the CAP is also contributing to reducing poverty rates in rural areas. These were among the findings of the first assessment of the CAP’s performance published, by the European Commission.As part of the EU Commission’s commitment to improving the Common Agricultural policy (CAP), the first parts of the Common monitoring and evaluation framework (CMEF) have been released. Making use of 178 indicators and more than 900 sub indicators, this framework has been designed to assess how well the CAP has achieved its three primary objectives of viable food production, sustainable management of natural resources and climate action, and balanced territorial development.

Through this process, the indicators have shown a number of successes for the CAP. These include a shift for the EU from being a net agri food importer to an exporter of food. For instance, EU agri-food exports have almost doubled over the last ten years while still maintaining an open market. For instance, the EU is the biggest importer of agri-food products from the least developed countries from far. This has also led to the reduction of the gap between global and EU farm prices, making European farming more competitive.

Additionally, the CAP is supporting 7 million beneficiaries, which represents around 65% of total farms in the EU. It has also been shown that the CAP is contributing to reducing the poverty rate in rural areas, approaching it to the poverty rate of the whole economy. As for incomes, the gap between agricultural incomes and other sectors is also reducing, with the share of average agricultural income compared with the whole economy increased from 32% over 2000-2010 to 47% in 2016.

Despite this, the indicators also showed where progress could be made. For example, even though greenhouse gas (GHG) and ammonia emissions from agriculture have declined (with for instance a decrease of 22% for GHG emissions since 1990), the results of the first performance assessment suggests that further improvements are needed with the environmental aspects of the CAP. Further to this, productivity growth has been mainly driven by the outflow of labour, and less by research or innovation as intended.

With the future CAP shifting emphasis from compliance and rules towards results and performance, a new Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Framework will set a single set of objectives at EU level for direct payments, market measures and rural development. However, the detailed data and the summary dashboards already provide a good basis for the identification of policy priorities and help member states in the preparation of their CAP strategic plans.