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Beyond Wine Lakes and Butter Mountains - A Study on the Effects of the Common Agricultural Policy on Sustainable Agriculture in Sweden

Persson, Hanna LU (2015) LAGM01 20152
Department of Law
Abstract
It is well known that industrial agriculture has extensive negative social, economic and environmental effects. Sustainable agriculture has been designed as a way of out this negative cycle, and is meant to create an agricultural system with temporal stability. With this starting point, this thesis investigates how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has affected sustainable agriculture in Sweden. Since sustainable agriculture is a very broad term, this essay will focus on three metrics instead: how CAP has affected farm size, price of milk and pesticide use in Sweden.

The secondary EU legislation that makes up the most of CAP is divided into two pillars. Pillar I is concerned with two aspects of the policy: the common organization of... (More)
It is well known that industrial agriculture has extensive negative social, economic and environmental effects. Sustainable agriculture has been designed as a way of out this negative cycle, and is meant to create an agricultural system with temporal stability. With this starting point, this thesis investigates how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has affected sustainable agriculture in Sweden. Since sustainable agriculture is a very broad term, this essay will focus on three metrics instead: how CAP has affected farm size, price of milk and pesticide use in Sweden.

The secondary EU legislation that makes up the most of CAP is divided into two pillars. Pillar I is concerned with two aspects of the policy: the common organization of the market, which regulates market intervention, and direct payments given to farmers based on their acreage. The direct payments were previously based on production levels. Pillar II makes up the rural development policy, with aid that is supposed to benefit rural communities.

This thesis shows that CAP has had, and continues to have, great consequences for these three metrics. The direct payments get capitalized into land values, which means that land becomes more expensive. This means, in turn, that farm sizes increase, which has great negative effects on the surrounding environment. However, these rate of farm size increase has been mitigated somewhat after the direct payments were decoupled (that is, when they were based on acreage rather than production levels).

For the past decades, the EU has enforced a milk quota, putting a cap on how much milk each member state can produce. This has created artificially high prices on milk, which has created a higher income for dairy farmers, thereby letting them avoid bankruptcy. This quota was removed in 2015, and prices are expected to drop as a result.

CAP has also affected, or failed to affect, the use of pesticides in Sweden. The previous coupled direct payments incentivized farmers to keep high production levels. This requires using a lot of pesticides. Pesticide levels have increased steadily over the past decades, despite some efforts to reduce them, such as promoting organic farming and introducing decoupled payments.

In total, this means that CAP has had negative effects on sustainable agriculture in Sweden, with consequences such as an increased rate of agricultural concentration, soil depletion and social isolation for the remaining farmers. With this said, CAP has also contributed positively to the development of agriculture. Its milk quotas have, for example, ensured that more farmers can stay in business. The conclusion is therefore that a reform of CAP is necessary to ensure a sustainable agriculture for the future. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Det är välkänt att det industriella jordbruket har omfattande negativa sociala, ekonomiska och miljömässiga effekter. Hållbart jordbruk ses som ett alternativ till detta nedbrytande system. Dess syfte är istället att skapa ett jordbruk som är hållbart på lång sikt. Med detta som utgångspunkt undersöker denna uppsats hur den gemensamma jordbrukspolitiken (CAP) har påverkat hållbart jordbruk i Sverige. Eftersom ”hållbart jordbruk” är svårt att definiera så kommer uppsatsen att fokusera på tre aspekter och undersöka hur CAP har påverkat gårdsstorlekar, mjölkpriser och användning av växtskyddsmedel i Sverige.

CAP utgörs främst av sekundärrätt som är uppdelad i två pelare. Pelare I behandlar två aspekter: den gemensamma organisationen av... (More)
Det är välkänt att det industriella jordbruket har omfattande negativa sociala, ekonomiska och miljömässiga effekter. Hållbart jordbruk ses som ett alternativ till detta nedbrytande system. Dess syfte är istället att skapa ett jordbruk som är hållbart på lång sikt. Med detta som utgångspunkt undersöker denna uppsats hur den gemensamma jordbrukspolitiken (CAP) har påverkat hållbart jordbruk i Sverige. Eftersom ”hållbart jordbruk” är svårt att definiera så kommer uppsatsen att fokusera på tre aspekter och undersöka hur CAP har påverkat gårdsstorlekar, mjölkpriser och användning av växtskyddsmedel i Sverige.

CAP utgörs främst av sekundärrätt som är uppdelad i två pelare. Pelare I behandlar två aspekter: den gemensamma organisationen av jordbruksmarknaders, som främst reglerar marknadsåtgärder, och arealbaserade direktstöd. Direktstöden baserades tidigare på produktionsnivåer. Pelare II reglerar landsbygdsprogrammet, som ger bidrag till utveckling av landsbygden.

Denna uppsats drar slutsatsen att CAP har haft stora konsekvenser för dessa tre aspekter. Direktstöden kapitaliseras in i markvärdena, vilket innebär att markpriserna stiger. Detta leder i sin tur till att gårdsstorlekarna ökar, vilket har negativa konsekvenser för den närmsta omgivningen. Dessa effekter har däremot minskat något efter att direktstöden kopplades isär från produktionen.

Under de senaste årtiondena har EU:s mjölkkvoter satt en gräns för hur mycket mjölk varje medlemsstat får producera, vilket har drivit upp mjölkpriserna. Detta har ökat böndernas inkomster, och drivit dem längre bort från konkurs. Mjölkkvoterna togs bort under våren 2015, och mjölkpriserna förväntas nu falla som ett resultat av detta.

CAP har också påverkat, eller misslyckats med att påverka, användningen av växtskyddsmedel i Sverige. De kopplade direktstöden gav bönder ett incitament att ha höga produktionsnivåer, vilket kräver mycket växtskyddsmedel. Nivåerna av växtskyddsmedel har ökat stadigt de senaste åren, trots försök att sänka dem. Dessa försök har bland annat innefattat ett ökat stöd för ekologisk odling, och ett frikopplat direktstöd.

Sammanfattningsvis innebär detta att CAP har haft negativa effekter på svenskt hållbart jordbruk. Dessa effekter innefattar bland annat en högre grad av koncentration inom branschen, utarmning av jordar och social isolering för kvarvarande jordbrukare. Med detta sagt har CAP dock även bidragit positivt till utvecklingen. Ett exempel på detta är mjölkkvoterna som låtit fler bönder fortsätta med sin verksamhet. Det är därför nödvändigt att reformera CAP, för att säkerställa ett hållbart jordbruk för framtiden. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Persson, Hanna LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGM01 20152
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
miljörätt, EU law, EU-rätt, environmental law, gemensamma jordbrukspolitiken, common agricultural policy, sustainable agriculture, hållbart jordbruk
language
English
id
8512267
date added to LUP
2016-01-29 13:10:01
date last changed
2016-01-29 13:10:01
@misc{8512267,
  abstract     = {It is well known that industrial agriculture has extensive negative social, economic and environmental effects. Sustainable agriculture has been designed as a way of out this negative cycle, and is meant to create an agricultural system with temporal stability. With this starting point, this thesis investigates how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has affected sustainable agriculture in Sweden. Since sustainable agriculture is a very broad term, this essay will focus on three metrics instead: how CAP has affected farm size, price of milk and pesticide use in Sweden.

The secondary EU legislation that makes up the most of CAP is divided into two pillars. Pillar I is concerned with two aspects of the policy: the common organization of the market, which regulates market intervention, and direct payments given to farmers based on their acreage. The direct payments were previously based on production levels. Pillar II makes up the rural development policy, with aid that is supposed to benefit rural communities.

This thesis shows that CAP has had, and continues to have, great consequences for these three metrics. The direct payments get capitalized into land values, which means that land becomes more expensive. This means, in turn, that farm sizes increase, which has great negative effects on the surrounding environment. However, these rate of farm size increase has been mitigated somewhat after the direct payments were decoupled (that is, when they were based on acreage rather than production levels).

For the past decades, the EU has enforced a milk quota, putting a cap on how much milk each member state can produce. This has created artificially high prices on milk, which has created a higher income for dairy farmers, thereby letting them avoid bankruptcy. This quota was removed in 2015, and prices are expected to drop as a result.

CAP has also affected, or failed to affect, the use of pesticides in Sweden. The previous coupled direct payments incentivized farmers to keep high production levels. This requires using a lot of pesticides. Pesticide levels have increased steadily over the past decades, despite some efforts to reduce them, such as promoting organic farming and introducing decoupled payments.

In total, this means that CAP has had negative effects on sustainable agriculture in Sweden, with consequences such as an increased rate of agricultural concentration, soil depletion and social isolation for the remaining farmers. With this said, CAP has also contributed positively to the development of agriculture. Its milk quotas have, for example, ensured that more farmers can stay in business. The conclusion is therefore that a reform of CAP is necessary to ensure a sustainable agriculture for the future.},
  author       = {Persson, Hanna},
  keyword      = {miljörätt,EU law,EU-rätt,environmental law,gemensamma jordbrukspolitiken,common agricultural policy,sustainable agriculture,hållbart jordbruk},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Beyond Wine Lakes and Butter Mountains - A Study on the Effects of the Common Agricultural Policy on Sustainable Agriculture in Sweden},
  year         = {2015},
}