Ground for choices: Four Perspectives for the Rural Areas in the European Community

A substantial volume of agricultural land in the European Community (EC) will need to be taken out of production because of increasing productivity, growing surpluses and the financing problems in the agricultural sector and in order to make the sector environmentally sustainable, the WRR says in its report Ground for choices: Four perspectives for the rural areas in the European Community (Report no. 42, 1992).

Keeping land in production is counterproductive

In every case, policies that are not geared to reducing the area of land under cultivation were found to be counterproductive. Opting to keep land in production artificially, partly with a view to preserving jobs, hampers the creation of new structures in the agricultural sector, thus also frustrating environmental and technical improvements. The Netherlands faces potential threats to land-based arable farming.

Four scenarios for agriculture and forestry

In this report the WRR presents four model-based scenarios for agriculture and forestry in the European Community for the period until approximately 2015: free market and free trade, regional development, nature and landscape, and environmental protection. The scenarios are not forecasts, but technical surveys that indicate the limitations of every future development. The outcomes differ significantly from one another.