Designing an effective small farmers scheme in France with environmental and employment conditions 1

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24 November 2020
By CEE-M

The small farm sector has long been neglected by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Since CAP support is mainly allocated through the first pillar budget on a per-hectare basis, small farms receive little or no direct income support. This situation is compounded by cumbersone administrative procedures which discourage small farmers from claiming the financial support they are entitled to, and by eligibility criteria which exclude part of the small farm sector from the CAP system. The 2014 CAP introduced the Small Farmers Scheme (SFS) offering small farms the option of an unconditional annual lump-sum payment per farm replacing the standard direct payments of the first pillar. This paper assesses the acceptability in France of a more sophisticated version of the 2014 SFS for the post-2020 CAP. We propose that this extended SFS include easily controllable conditions on environmental efforts and on salaried employment. The results of a discrete choice experiment conducted in France show that the principle of such extended SFS would be attractive to small farmers, especially market gardeners, and that the vast majority of respondents have a preference for an extended SFS incorporating an environmental condition.