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Has agricultural policy responded to the Rio challenge?


  • Alan Matthews


This paper examines recent changes in EU agricultural policy and its implementation in Ireland and asks whether the changes made encourage a more sustainable agriculture in Ireland in line with the objectives of the Rio UN Conference on the Environment and Development. It argues that the Agenda 2000 reforms of the CAP common market regimes will have only a modest environmental impact. The extension of horizontal environmental cross-compliance in determining eligibility to receive direct payments will have a potentially larger impact, but carries the danger that it may legitimise current compensatory payments as payments for environmental services provided by farmers, even though the standard of farming required is only good farming practice. The implementation of the EU's agri-environment scheme in Ireland is also evaluated, and it is argued that the focus of the scheme should be shifted more from avoiding pollution to habitat protection and creation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Matthews, 2001. "Has agricultural policy responded to the Rio challenge?," Trinity Economics Papers 200114, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:200114

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pretty, J. N. & Brett, C. & Gee, D. & Hine, R. E. & Mason, C. F. & Morison, J. I. L. & Raven, H. & Rayment, M. D. & van der Bijl, G., 2000. "An assessment of the total external costs of UK agriculture," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 113-136, August.
    2. Wyn P. Grant & John T.S. Keeler (ed.), 2000. "Agricultural Policy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 1655.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Matthews, 2001. "How Important is Agriculture and the AgriFood Sector in Ireland?," Trinity Economics Papers 200118, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    2. Jackie Whelan & John Fry & Stuart Green, 2010. "Consideration of landscape in the framework documentation during the evolution of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) in the Republic of Ireland," Working Papers 1008, Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc.
    3. Stephen Hynes & Cathal O’Donoghue & Eithne Murphy & Ann Kinsella, 2008. "Are far off hills really greener? The Impact of REPS on Farmer Behaviour," Working Papers 0812, Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy


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