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Agricultural policy under Michael Gove | Letters

Allan Buckwell says British farmers are not 'subsidised', Jane Mardell and Richard Middleton fear that only the rich will be able to buy British-grown food, and Vanessa Griffiths and Kate Ashbrook see hope in public access to landPlease don't use the word "subsidy" for payments to farmers who manage land for biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides (Report, 3 January). A subsidy is generally considered a temporary assistance and often comes with an undertone that is negative and undeserved. There is now a large body of analysis and evidence to support paying for services that the market cannot supply. We don't talk about subsidising nurses for health services, or teachers for educational services. So let's pay for environmental services on a similar basis.It is good that Michael Gove is supportive of this approach, but there is no need to leave the EU to do it. With strong UK leadership, the common agricultural policy has been adapted for over 20 years to enable governments to pay farmers for environmental services, and to do this under their own locally devised schemes. The resources allocated for this purpose have been decided domestically, and we could have done much more of this had we chosen. Let's hope Mr Gove now delivers on his rhetoric.Allan BuckwellProfessor emeritus of agricultural policy, Imperial College, London Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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