Agriculture is an area in which competence is shared between the European Union (EU) and EU countries. The Bioenergy and agricultural sectors are closely intertwined.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds direct payments to farmers and regulates agricultural markets and finances EU countries' rural development programmes. Launched for the first time over 50 years ago it is presently undergoing a major reform, the new set of legislations will regulate the period post 2020.
The role of biomass
With around 20% of the bioenergy feedstock coming from agriculture, both dedicated energy crops and agricultural residues can be utilised to produce heat, electricity and biofuels. Agricultural biomass represents an important and sustainable energy source although its potential remains largely untapped. Scarce mobilisation of residues is at the basis of their underutilisation. Several studies point in the direction of an increased role for agricultural biomass to achieve Europe’s long-term decarbonisation objectives.
European policies should support the key role played by agricultural biomass and energy crops in the achievement of EU long-term decarbonisation objectives. Obstacles to utilisation of agricultural residues such as lack of information and mobilisation issues should be tackled with the support of adequate programmes. Furthermore, the positive contribution to the environment provided by perennial energy crops (help to improve water quality, enhance biodiversity, prevent erosion and mitigate climate change) should be acknowledged. The Common Agricultural Policy should encourage, through concrete measures, the supply of bioenergy from agriculture and forestry and the use of bioenergy on farms and in rural areas.
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