Dear Commissioner of Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski,
Once again we take the liberty of asking you to review the EU Commission’s acceptance of the arguments in the Danish Strategic CAP Plan for derogation from mandatory redistribution of at least 10% of direct payments to small farmers.
We consider those arguments flawed. There was no attempt in the plan to balance state support for small scale vs. large scale agriculture. Instead, it is a series of arguments for large scale farming and for derogation that we consider less than serious (“small scale farmers don’t need redistribution, because they are old and have good pensions”, etc.). The plan also fails to make any mention of the EU’s small farmers scheme.
These flaws are now compounded by laws passed by the Danish parliament in 2017 and on March 28, 2023 (https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2023/369). Effective as of April 11, these laws selectively increase taxation of the land of about 15,000 small farms (most of them less than 15 hectares) by a factor ten or more, i.e. by at least an order of magnitude. The total number of farms in Denmark is approximately 30,000.
The latest legislation thus delivers the coup de grace to small scale farming in Denmark. That is because few, if any, small scale farmers will be able to pay 10 times (or more) more land tax, young farmers will be unwilling or unable to buy such small scale farms, rural development will suffer even more than is already the case, etc.
We trust that the Commission cannot have been informed about such legislative preparations when it accepted Denmark’s arguments as presented in section 3.4 of the Strategic CAP Plan. We therefore take the liberty of suggesting to you that you
1) ask the Danish government to justify its policy of virtually complete neglect of small scale farming and total support for large scale industrial farming in the light of what is known, by independent researchers, about the effects of these farming systems on biodiversity, climate change, rural development, food security and economics.
2) review the Commission’s acceptance of the Danish government’s arguments for derogation from mandatory redistribution of minimum 10% of direct payments.
Frie Bønder Levende Land (La Via Campesina Denmark)
Tonny Hansen (chairman)
Ole Faergeman (vice-chairman)
8420 Knebel, Denmark
phone: +45 7527 9072