The impact of the 1992 MacSharry CAP reforms on agriculture in the Grampian Region.
Stewart, Rachel Smith
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This thesis is an examination of the impact of the 1992 MacSharry Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms on one region of the European Union (ED), namely Grampian Region in Scotland. The period of analysis is 1991-95, covering the year prior to reform up to the final year of the transitional period. The MacSharry reforms were deemed the most radical of all CAP reforms in its 30-year history. Named after Ray MacSharry, then Agricultural Commissioner, these reforms went further than any previously proposed. The reforms occurred as a result of years of internal domestic problems associated with high budgetary costs and surplus products together with international pressures resulting from the Uruguay Round General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations. The reforms were innovative in that they shifted farm support away from high guaranteed prices for farm produce towards direct income payments to farmers. This thesis examines the MacSharry reforms in depth and attempts to determine their impact upon both Grampian agriculture and agriculture-related industries as any changes to agriculture affect upstream and downstream sectors. In addition the thesis examines agricultural industry change in the region as farmers are found to be increasingly moving towards diversification and alternative farming methods in an attempt to generate additional farm income. In determining the impact of the reforms, the thesis thereby ascertains whether the implementation of the reforms was successful or not in the region. Analysis of this impact is made through the use of both primary and secondary data collection methods. The conclusion drawn from this methodology is that the reforms were successful regarding agriculture per se. As MacSharry had intended, production in arable and livestock sectors were reduced, farmers' incomes increased and those benefiting most appeared to be the smaller producers. However, contrary to predictions, the research on agriculture-related industries in the region suggested that the reforms had not adversely affected local businesses. Furthermore, the examination of farm diversification indicated that although diversification in the region was becoming increasingly popular this did not appear to be as a result of CAP reform. Although there is an overall lack of literature on whether the MacSharry reforms were successful or not when implemented in the EU, this example of one Scottish region illustrates how the reforms worked out in practice, demonstrating varying degrees of success across different sectors.