Letter: How many people should be farming the land?

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The Independent Online
Sir: Yesterday's article by Sir Simon Gourlay ('Let the farmer out of the pen') brought joy to my heart. Aware of the ultimate limits of the European budget, a number of MEPs have been arguing for radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for several years now.

However, the proposals put forward by Stefan Tangermann of Gottingen University (for a one-off, direct-income 'bond scheme') were in fact fully debated in the European Parliament in 1991. The politicians put the idea forward on the basis of Professor Tangermann's paper, fully aware that redundancies in any industry are extremely painful. The 'bond' seemed a less painful way of contracting an industry rendered unstoppable by the 'grotesque' CAP.

We decided to support a radical but clean-cut reform rather than see agriculture subsidised ad infinitum. We are glad that at last key farming personalities agree.

Yours faithfully,



Land Use and Food Policy Intergroup

European Parliament


18 May