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Advantages of and challenges to small farming and necessity to change CAP at the focus of the Meeting of the Chairpersons of the Committees on Rural Affairs

Monday, 22 July 2013 SendPrint

The second session of the Meeting of the Chairpersons of the Committees on Rural Affairs and EP representatives focused on the problems that small farms face in Europe.


Having overviewed the development tendencies and statistics of small farming, Dr Rasa Melnikienė, Director of the Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics, highlighted that the number of small farms has recently decreased in the EU, giving way to the dominance of large farms. However, Dr Melnikienė underlined that small farms cultivate land more effectively, produce high-quality local fresh food and foster cultural heritage and traditions. Small farmers create jobs not only for themselves but also for others, particularly for women (female labour force is more widely used on small farms). The Director of the Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics encouraged the politicians to use the potential of small farms more actively, because, according to her, small is smart.

When speaking about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, Hanny van Geel, Member of the Coordination Committee of the European Coordination Via Campesina, said that even though progress was achieved after the long and difficult negotiations on the CAP, the achievements, however, are only minor changes of the system that is very unfriendly to small farming.

Ms Van Geel underlined that the current economic system, which is based on the generation of profit, brings benefits neither to the people, nor to the environment. “Therefore, it completely fails to meet its obligations of being dedicated to the production of food which is healthy, affordable and benefits people,” said the speaker.

Ms Van Geel and the thinkers-alike believe that changing the direction of this dysfunctional food system will only be possible through a complete reorientation of food and agricultural policies and practices.  “It is vital to redesign the food system based on the principles of food sovereignty and the right of peoples to democratically define their own food and agricultural systems without harming other people or the environment,” Ms Van Geel said.

Valdas Kavaliauskas, a farmer and Chairman of the Board of the Association VivaSol, told about the successful family farm he established eight years ago in the village of Dargužiai, Varėna District, Lithuania. The farmer produces and sells cheese and is quite actively engaged in bringing the public life of the village community into focus.

While overviewing the development challenges for small farming, Mr Kavaliauskas indicated the importance of people’s self-confidence, self-esteem, motivation and qualification and the problems related to farm financing and land accessibility. He also believes it is necessary to pay greater attention to small farming, reduce administrative burden and ensure greater production orientation and good agri-environmental conditions.


Jolanta Anskaitienė, Public Relations Unit, tel. +370 5 239 6132, e-mail: [email protected]

Rimas Rudaitis, Public Relations Unit, tel. +370 5 239 6132, e-mail: [email protected]


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