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The development implications of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy

​The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the European Union’s agricultural policy spending around €50 billion each year (some 40% of the EU’s budget). It aims to provide a stable and affordable food supply and a decent standard of living for farmers. In October 2011, the European Commission (EC) published its proposals to reform the CAP post-2013. These proposals are now being discussed with the European Parliament and the European Council, with the aim of having them approved before the end of 2013.

The context in which the current CAP reform is taking place differs from that of previous reforms. High and volatile food prices and growing environmental problems are calling old measures into question, and the rise of emerging powers has put CAP reform under a new spotlight. Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute have been exploring how proposed CAP reforms might affect developing countries. This research asked three broad questions:


  1. How do the present CAP and the proposed reforms affect development: are they coherent with the EU’s development objectives?
  2. How can we ensure that the effects of the CAP on developing countries and, therefore, on development are monitored over time?
  3. Is the CAP a good instrument for achieving its main objectives of supporting and stabilising rural income and protecting the environment? Is there a better alternative?



Sheila Page, Nicola Cantore, Alan Matthews, Michael King, Ole Boysen, Niels Keijzer, Jane Kennan, Henrike Klavert, Othieno Lawrence and Musa Mayanja Lwanga