Current Support Measures for
4.8 Where there is a choice, farmers will grow only
non-food crops if the returns are at least comparable with those
for supported food crops. This has led to the introduction in
the EU of piecemeal and complex support for non-food crops.
4.9 An important example is that, subject to specific
conditions, farmers can grow crops for industrial purposes on
set aside land and receive the annual set aside payment (about
£305/ha). The crops which qualify, and the conditions under
which they may be grown, are set out in the MAFF Arable Area Payments
Explanatory Guide. In the United Kingdom, the main crops grown
on set aside land are industrial oilseeds and energy crops (e.g.
short rotation coppice).
4.10 High erucic acid oilseed rape can also be grown
on land qualifying for arable area payments and receives the same
area payment as oilseeds for food or feed (about £300/ha
in 1998). There is a separate area payment for linseed which amounted
to nearly £470/ha in England in 1998.
4.11 For short rotation coppice (SRC), farmers in
receipt of a national planting grant for biomass production can
keep the same land set aside for five years in return for a payment
which is guaranteed not to be reduced (in Euro terms) over a five
year period. In addition to the set aside payment, growers of
SRC can also receive a lump sum payment of £400/ha towards
the cost of planting under the Woodland Grant Scheme.
For planting on land outside the Arable Area Payments Scheme,
the amount is increased to £600/ha.
4.12 There are separate support regimes for fibre
flax and hemp with a payment per hectare fixed annually. In 1998,
these EU funded payments were in the range of £450-£535/ha
for fibre flax and about £500/ha for hemp. Growers must have
a contract with a processor and the latter is required to lodge
a security with the Intervention Board Executive Agency. This
security is repayable on confirmation of delivery of the crop
as contracted. This measure is designed to reduce the risk of
fraud through farmers receiving a payment but failing to grow
and harvest a crop which meets the volume and quality criteria.
4.13 Where products of food crops, such as starch
or sugar, are used for industrial purposes, refunds are paid to
processors at a level designed to enable European Union suppliers
to compete with imports from countries outside the European Union.
The conditions relating to raw materials that could be used for
both food and non-food purposes also require a contract with a
processor who must lodge a security repayable only on proof that
the crop has been processed for non-food use.
4.14 Following the Commission's proposals under Agenda
2000, a number of changes to agricultural support were agreed
at the Berlin European Council in March 1999. Those most
relevant to nonfood crops were the reduction in support
prices for commodities, such as cereals, beef and milk, and the
introduction of a non-crop-specific area payment. The area payments
for cereals, oilseeds, linseed and set aside will be standardised
by the year 2002 at 63Euro/tonne
(about £240/ha in England at 1999 exchange rates). This compares
with 1998 payments in England of some £240/ha for cereals,
£300/ha for oilseeds (after penalties under the Blair House
Agreement), £470/ha for linseed and £305/ha for set
aside. However, and contrary to the initial proposals under which
the compulsory set aside rate would have been set at zero, the
rate was set at 10 per cent until 2006.
4.15 A new Rural Development Regulation will change
the basis on which Member States may provide support to farmers
in less favoured areas, effectively replacing Hill Livestock Compensatory
Allowances (HLCAs). This will require payments per head to be
replaced by a payment per hectare with more explicit environmental
objectives. Member States will also have discretion to reduce
direct payments by up to 20 per cent according to labour force
criteria, overall prosperity criteria and the total amount of
direct payments received by a farm business.
11 The United Kingdom has five regional yields for
cereals, ranging from 5.03 to 5.89 tonnes/ha. Back
A farmer's eligible area was based under the MacSharry reforms
on the area of arable land in the crop rotation in 1991. In return
for the set aside payment, farmers may not grow any food crop
on land that is set aside or use the land for grazing. They must
also comply with strict rules for managing the land during the
set aside period to ensure that it is maintained in good condition.
See Arable Area Payments, Explanatory Guide, Parts I and
II, 1997 edition and 1998 and 1999 up-dates, MAFF. Back
The Fontainebleau Abatement is a mechanism which returns to the
United Kingdom Exchequer roughly two-thirds of the difference
between the United Kingdom's gross contribution to, and receipts
from, the European Union budget. Back
Agriculture in the UK 1998, Table 9.1. Back
If planting is on set aside land, payments from the Woodland Grant
Scheme are nationally funded. If planting is on non set aside
land, the payments are 50 per cent financed by the EU, except
in Objective 1 areas where there can be up to 75 per cent funding
by the EU. Back
A Euro9.5 supplement is paid on proteins and the durum wheat
supplementary aids remain. Back