Farming for tomorrow - developing an enabling environment for resilient and sustainable agricultural systems
The European farming sector is facing constant economic, environmental and social challenges in rapidly changing economic and policy environments. It is increasingly affected by factors external to farming which make it more vulnerable to external shocks. As a consequence, it has undergone considerable changes in recent decades: farm size and investment have increased steadily to maintain farming income. In some sectors (e.g. livestock), production is becoming more concentrated in specialised regions, potentially increasing pressure on the environment. Risks in agriculture have increased as a result inter alia of the abolition of price policies, globalisation, more frequent extreme weather events in a changing and more variable climate, and pest and disease outbreaks/epidemic diseases. These and other factors have a strong bearing on the farm demographics of farmers and the attractiveness of the sector. Generation renewal in agriculture plays a crucial role in maintaining viable food production and contributing to the sustainability of the sector and rural areas generally. For example, a rapid decline of farming communities in many areas in Europe is expected to compromise the long-term provision of public goods. There is a need to analyse these issues thoroughly in order to understand long-term dynamics in the sector and develop an environment conducive to the delivery of private and public goods.
Activities should provide a thorough investigation of the main factors driving farm demographics along with their implications for the agricultural sector, rural development, the environment and the provision of public goods. Proposals should develop long-term projections and modelling and measure the impact and effectiveness of relevant policies. Work should identify further measures to facilitate entry to the sector. The impact of consumer preferences on the farming sector is also to be taken into account. Investigations will cover a wide range of sub-sectors (including commodities and value-added products). Investigations will also aim at understanding farmers' risk management strategies and behaviours as regards the adoption and use of risk-management tools, their behaviours in market-crisis situations, the conditions and availability of information necessary for the effective management of risks at farm level and the role of policy tools. Gender-related aspects will be investigated as relevant[[See definition of the 'gender dimension of research' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.]]. Research will extend to strategies at meso/macro levels to cope with the risks associated with an increased occurrence of extreme weather events.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The project results are expected to:
- improve the delivery of the policy framework to agricultural activity thus fostering its sustainability. Particular attention will be paid to the delivery of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP);
- provide farmers with better risk-management tools; and
- improve the resilience of the agricultural sector in coping with the risks it faces.