CAP reform, agropolitics and 2nd rurality opinion

By 2050 we will find ourselves in a climate emergency due to the CO2 neutrality and the climate protection measures that we are obliged to implement. For this reason, the CAP reform for the next decade should be more agro-ecological, based on the proximity systems for agro-food (SAL) and agroforestry (SAF), which are themselves responsible for performing functions of the ecological infrastructure and the green corridors are conceived and designed. In any case, the options available cannot be viewed in the abstract, as power relations are always at the center of the agropolitical system.

Power relations in the agropolitical system

We know that in open and globalized markets, which are not adequately regulated, the intensification of agriculture and with it the pressure on natural resources, the soil, the ecosystems and the landscape increase. We also know that a more bio-technological and intense political agenda will impoverish local communities and forms of traditional agriculture, as well as increasing simplification of ecosystems with abandonment, fragmentation and concentration of property.

We also know that politically it is not easy to reconcile the intensive and exporting option with the more conservative and agro-ecological option in line with a “strategic food reserve and corresponding biodiversity” in order to achieve a converging set of fundamental objectives, namely, spatial planning in connection with the agroecological economy, the conservation of resources and biodiversity on site, the connection between landscape, landscape units and ecosystem services, the relationship between complementarity and integration between town and country.

Power relations in this area will find themselves in a difficult and precarious equilibrium within what I call “2. rural ”situation, ie in a complex coexistence between the bio-productivist model (scale effect) and the agroecological model (scale effect).

We also know that if there is no balance between these two great options, we will gradually make the separation between the strategic food reserve, the appropriate biodiversity base and the areas in which they are located. It will come as no surprise, then, that we are seeing a concentration of control over natural resources, the expansion of production scales, the spread of monocultures, the biophysical monotony and the impoverishment of the social diversity of areas. The table summarizes the main features of the two options:

In the end, we will see a profound shift in the balance of power resulting from this change in scope and strategy favoring tourism down the chain (traders, transporters and retailers) to the detriment of the upstream sectors (farmers, agrotourism and rural areas) )). This means that without a strong institutionalization that imposes reciprocity regimes in international trade and offers some fundamental positive external effects (in terms of the environment, soil protection and biological diversity, occupation of disadvantaged areas), there are no external conditions for a re-territorialization of many areas and In many other areas of city-to-city relations that are badly affected today, that is, without a heavily agro-ecological and territorialist CAP, we will not create sufficient material conditions for virtuous low density.

2. Rurality and low density of virtues

CAP reform is underway for the next decade. Let’s look at what a more agro-ecological view of CAP reform could be, in line with what is being written about social and territorial cohesion and what I call “low virtuous density”.

35 years have passed since joining the EEC and many millions of European funds. I am not satisfied with such a small country that is so well equipped with communication channels, has a district network of universities and polytechnical institutions and is nevertheless characterized by strong regional asymmetries, decapitated agriculture and small and weak inner cities. Agglomeration power. And why do we keep repeating the same diagnoses of abandonment, depopulation and desertification 35 years later, despite the honorable exceptions? I am convinced that this is because, at the corporate level, agriculture has emerged around three large corporate organizations – CAP, Confagri and CNA – which have essentially retained the same ideology as before, ie institutional and political lobbying. On the one hand the proprietary version, medium and large, from family groups, on the other hand the cooperative and / or associative version and what is left of it, and finally the community version, a multitude of micro and small businesses of them with little or no financial capital and administrative capital. I would now like to add a fourth corporate version, which affects national and foreign mutual funds with important interests, especially in Alqueva, but not exclusively.

Why do we keep repeating the same diagnoses of abandonment, depopulation and desertification 35 years later? I believe this is because agriculture at the corporate level has emerged as three large corporate organizations – CAP, Confagri and CNA

This four-dimensional corporate agriculture treats “environmental restrictions” essentially as “harm reduction policies”: The four groups practice “green concealment” with the competence recognized for political influence, but in most cases without professional management skills for both environmental apparatuses. I am convinced that one of the ways to counter this corporate and conservative agriculture is to “anchor new organizational models of the territory and to democratize access to its administration, in particular the triple-A management models” (agriculture, environment, nutrition, AAA). . In this sense, investment proposals that focus on the triple A management model would be privileged (increased incentives), as would the organizational and management models that promote social and territorial cohesion, for example:

The models of “rural condominium”, the cooperative models of local and regional production and distribution, the AAC models (agriculture accompanied by urban agriculture and support for institutional food), the CIM models (intermunicipal community) to support productive system models, the models “Intercity Agroecological Park” for diverse, productive, recreational, educational and therapeutic purposes, the models “nature park and protected landscape area”, the outpatient models for the provision of multifunctional services, which are provided, for example, through commissioning and cooperation laboratories.

In all of these cases, “territorial collective intelligence” (ICT) is privileged in particular through the establishment of suitable platforms for cooperation. In this sense, the CAP reform needs to consider and provide for the creation of some “collaborative laboratories” where regional services, higher education institutions and professional associations can bring their interests together, in particular the co-financing of business incubation services, agri-environment management and rural enlargement.

Closing remarks

In conclusion, I think it advisable to approach the reform of the CAP from the point of view of social and territorial cohesion and, in particular, to support the innovative proposals for AAA and ICT management as I have mentioned here. Ultimately, it is not about creating a dichotomous system of agriculture and rural development, but rather a network of complementarities and obligations between global markets and local markets, in which the pluralism of farming methods is taken into account and valued, food production, health to protect ecosystems, to protect and improve the most deprived areas and to guarantee public health and the well-being of the population in this network of relationships.

One final note to recall that the Regional Operational Programs of each NUTS II region are the appropriate framework for CAP reforms to be successful, not only because of the critical mass of resources and policies they bring together, but also because of the of network effects and their agglomeration. In this sense, the prejudices of companies against sectoral interests must be counteracted, as the time for change has come.

The author writes according to the new orthographic convention