Call to recognise co-cultivation benefits in CAP reforms
Encouraging better soil husbandry
Rural topic(s): Agroecology and agroforestry
Date of writing: August 23, 2012
Author(s) of the proposal: Jack De Lozzo
French organic farmer Jack De Lozzo explains how co-cultivating cereal and leguminous crops falls into a legal void as regards the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
De Lozzo has pioneered a farming approach in his native southwest France that combines tree growing and crop cultivation together in the same parcels. The result improves soil fertility and biodiversity, reduces erosion and cuts out chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides. It involves planting lines of trees in his arable fields, minimal working of topsoil and keeping surface cover of organic matter through out the year. The approach contrasts with the widespread convention of deep ploughing, multi-pass cultivation with long periods in which fields are left with bare soil.
While De Lozzo’s agroforestry practice attracts French regional and EU subsidies, the latter through European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (acronym FEADER, in the original language speech in the video), the co-cultivation work goes unrecognised. CAP rules mean he must declare a single crop for each land parcel, when he generally grows two or more at a time or in succession over the year, a winter or spring cereal combined with leguminous cover crops such as alfalfa or clover. The practice fixes nitrogen, improves soil life and retains moisture in the region’s heavy clay soils, environmental and economic benefits that may still fall foul of the farm inspectors that periodically visit his 80 hectares of mixed arable and beef rearing.
He suggests co-cultivation techniques should be recognised and accepted practice within the CAP designations. Furthermore, he argues they should even benefit from a waiver to the modulation deductions farmers incur on funds due to them via the Single Payment Scheme.
Author visit on August 20, 2012 that included extended conversation, questioning and video interviews in the context of the Sustainable Mystery Tour 2012.
Jack De Lozzo, is an individual farmer who is also associated with Arbre & Paysage 32, an association under the French law 1901. (arbre-et-paysage32.com/)
Scale of intervention : Local