The common agricultural policy (CAP) is aimed at helping European farmers meet the need to feed more than 500 million Europeans. Its main objectives are to provide a stable, sustainably produced supply of safe food at affordable prices for consumers, while also ensuring a decent standard of living for 22 million farmers and agricultural workers.
Concerns about climate change and issues such as biodiversity loss, water and soil quality mean that agriculture also plays an increasingly important role in the sustainable management of natural resources. Integrating environmental concerns into the Common Agricultural Policy aims to head off the risks of environmental degradation and enhancing the sustainability of agro-ecosystems.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has identified three priority areas for action to protect and enhance the EU's rural heritage:
- Biodiversity and the preservation and development of 'natural' farming and forestry systems, and traditional agricultural landscapes;
- water management and use;
- dealing with climate change.