Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
Is the scheme by which agricultural production within the European Union (EU) is organised. It was set up by the Treaty of Rome as a way of helping small-scale and relatively inefficient European farmers to survive.
In 2006 EU support for farmers (under the CAP) accounted for 45 per cent of its £75 billion budget.
• it stabilises farm incomes
• it enables marginal producers to stay in business, e.g. sheep farmers on Welsh hills
• it has helped to make Europe self-sufficient in food production
• it is expensive to operate
• it is open to corruption
• it raises food prices above world levels; this hurts consumers, and it hurts poor consumers more than rich ones