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Has agricultural policy responded to the Rio challenge?

  • Agricultural Science
  • Ecology
  • Geography


This paper examines recent changes in EU agricultural policy and its implementation in Ireland and asks whether the changes made encourage a more sustainable agriculture in Ireland in line with the objectives of the Rio UN Conference on the Environment and Development. It argues that the Agenda 2000 reforms of the CAP common market regimes will have only a modest environmental impact. The extension of horizontal environmental cross-compliance in determining eligibility to receive direct payments will have a potentially larger impact, but carries the danger that it may legitimise current compensatory payments as payments for environmental services provided by farmers, even though the standard of farming required is only good farming practice. The implementation of the EU's agri-environment scheme in Ireland is also evaluated, and it is argued that the focus of the scheme should be shifted more from avoiding pollution to habitat protection and creation.

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