Summary:Can EU policies support world food security and sustainable farming instead of undermining them as at present? How can the EU's subsidised exports be stopped from destroying the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries? How can we move to a model of agriculture which supports sustainable family farming both in Europe and in the developing world, rather than being based on large-scale intensive agri-business? These are just some of the questions asked at a joint press conference held by the Liaison Committee of Development NGOs and the European Farmers Coordination in Brussels on January 19, to coincide with the Farm Council meeting to debate the proposed Agenda 2000 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, and the beef and dairy sectors in particular.

Non-governmental organisations are growing increasingly worried about the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on farmers in developing countries. Unveiling a new position statement by European development NGOs, entitled "Agenda 2000 CAP reform proposals and food security in the developing world", the Chair of the Liaison Committee/Euronaid Joint Food Security Working Group, Peter With of Denmark's Danchurchaid, explained some of the NGOs' concerns. He said it was "hard to understand how the EU could discuss CAP reform without looking at its impact on the South, as the EU is the world's largest trading bloc and is obliged by the Treaty to consider the effects of all its policies on developing countries". Mr With called EU export restitutions on agricultural products to be rapidly phased out of because of the harm they do to Third World farmers through unfair competition. "Export subsidies, as well as unlimited direct payments, should be replaced by support for sustainable family farm-based agriculture", he said, calling for improved EU market access for agricultural exports from the Third World and permanent low tariffs for least-developed...

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