Tobacco reform is explained
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CTA. 2003. Tobacco reform is explained. Agritrade, December 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52846
Addressing the International Forum on Agriculture and Food in...
Addressing the International Forum on Agriculture and Food in Cernobbio on October 25th 2003, Commissioner Fischler outlined the basis for the Commission's tobacco-sector reform proposals. He noted that for 66% of tobacco holdings in Italy 'current support will simply be transferred to the single farm payment and maintained at 100%' and that for a further 23% benefits will be maintained at 80% of current levels under the single farm payment scheme. According to Commissioner Fischler this means that 'family employment, which represents some 80% of the total workforce in the tobacco sector, will continue to benefit from public support'. It will allow farmers to continue to produce tobacco or to diversify into other sectors which may be more profitable. He maintained that it would not lead to land abandonment. The restructuring funds provided will also be made available for retraining of farmers, the creation of new rural employment opportunities and even early-retirement schemes. Commissioner Fischler maintained that the overall aim of the reform process was 'the phasing-out of tobacco subsidies, while putting in place measures to develop alternative sources of income and economic activity for tobacco growers'. Commission proposals for reform of the tobacco sector were also set out in some detail at the Commission-convened seminar on tobacco-sector reform which took place in Brussels on November 10th 2003. Comment: The Commissioner's explanation makes clear the extent to which a reformed CAP is intended to maintain current levels of EU production through means which are more WTO compatible. Reining back EU production which expanded dramatically on the basis of past patterns of support is simply not on the EU's agenda.