New government must clamp down on ‘landgrabbing’ says Green MEP

Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has called on the next government to follow the lead taken by the European Parliament and clamp down on “landgrabbing” for financial investment and industrial agricultural production. Dr Scott Cato, a member of the agriculture committee in the European Parliament, has said the new government must enact policies to help small and medium-sized farms that operate in ways that respect workers, the environment and animals.

The European Parliament has appealed to both the EU Commission and EU governments to stop the further concentration of Europe’s agricultural areas and protect small and medium sized farms from corporations and speculators. Dr Scott Cato points to opportunities post-Brexit to develop alternative models of farming which support small family farms, which are particularly prevalent in her South West constituency. She said:

“Landgrabbing for financial investment and industrial agricultural production has long been considered a problem for developing countries. But Europe faces the same issue. Large investors are using arable land as an investment opportunity. Just 3% of farms control more than 52% of arable land in Europe and 80% of CAP subsidies go to just 20% of farms. The European Parliament is right to call time on this perverse situation [1].”

“As we prepare to leave the EU and the Common Agriculture Policy, the UK could become pioneers of a new farming model that redirects funds away from large land holders and corporation and towards supporting family farms.”

Earlier this year, Molly Scott Cato commissioned two reports which identified policy ideas for farming post-Brexit. She said:

“Both reports envision a future in which soil health is protected and enhanced; where biodiversity and animal welfare is improved and where land use contributes to mitigating the impacts of climate change. They also both agree on the need to maintain or increase the amount currently received by farmers through the Common Agriculture Policy, but that this investment must be retargeted towards rewarding farmers not landowners and focused on providing funding for advice, training and farmer-led research and innovation”.

[1] See report from Transnational Institute: Land grabbing and land concentration in Europe