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Agriculture and rural development

Economic sustainability in the CAP

Achieving economic sustainability

Viable farms are at the heart of agriculture in the EU. Without the ability to deliver a stable and rewarding income, agriculture would not be able to supply its essential products and services for society. The common agricultural policy (CAP) therefore includes several measures to ensure the economic viability of farms. The economic measures of the CAP must also be sustainable, and focus on how natural resources can be used efficiently and responsibly to provide a decent living without causing harm to the environment.

The economic consequences of the changing environment have become increasingly apparent across Europe in recent years. The disruption brought by unstable weather conditions, such as droughts and floods, has resulted in lower yields and falls in farm income. Therefore, the actions of the CAP that safeguard the environment are also in place to protect the long-term economic viability of agriculture.

A sustainable system of agriculture relies on an active and engaged farming sector and it is imperative that environmentally-friendly farming can be economically viable and profitable in the short term.

The CAP sets out to achieve economic sustainability by:

In a wider sense, agriculture can play a part in a sustainable economy by contributing biomass to fuel the bioeconomy and reduce the reliance on carbon-based energy. In turn, the production of biomass offers sustainable economic opportunities for farmers, foresters, and rural communities.

The new CAP will ensure continued access to high quality food and strong support for the European farming model. It will be structured around nine key objectives, three of which focus on the economic sustainability of EU agriculture:

  • support for viable farm income and resilience across the Union to enhance food security;
  • the enhancement of market orientation and increased competitiveness, including a greater focus on research, technology and digitalisation;
  • an improvement in the position of farmers in the value chain.

More information

Agriculture in the bioeconomy

The role of knowledge and innovation

Knowledge and innovation can help farming to remain profitable in both the present and the future:


EU Green Deal: benefits for farmers
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