What would farmers’ strategies be in a no-CAP situation? An illustration to France
This article investigates how French farmers could react if the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) were fully suppressed, based on a survey of intentions of 295 farmers carried out in 2009. The farmers surveyed were beneficiaries of CAP subsidies in 2008, and were therefore mostly specialised in field cropping and grazing livestock. Respondents had to indicate their ten-year strategy in two CAP scenarios: firstly in a “CAP continuation scenario”, and secondly in a “No CAP scenario” where the CAP is fully removed from 2014 onwards. A cluster analysis allows the differentiated effects of the CAP removal on the French farmers to be highlighted. These effects are dependent on the farming systems. Although for the majority of respondents there would be no change in their intentions if the CAP were suppressed, about 19 percent would intend to stop their farming activity and would prefer to close their farm, while they would maintain the farm if the CAP were continued. A disappearance of the CAP would imply that off-farm employment would be more frequently sought after by farm households. Hired labour would not be the first choice to replace household labour on the farms but instead farmers would resort to outsourcing, which is a more flexible labour force. The results show the crucial role of the CAP in French farmers’ existence and highlight the importance of the CAP for the rural labour market.
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