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Abstract

This paper reports the results of two identical surveys designed to elicit farmers’ and non-farmers’ representative views and opinions on the future direction of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The surveys applied Q-methodology to investigate how farmers (survey 1) and citizens without a background in agriculture (survey 2) would like to see the CAP develop after the current reform concerning six different topics, among others: direct payments, structural change in agriculture and services of societal interest. Q methodology combines the strength of qualitative and quantitative research in order to explore and classify subjective views. The existing literature on farmers’ and citizens’ views on the CAP focuses particularly on attitudes of one or the other group. Five opinion groups among the farmers surveyed and seven opinion groups among the non-farming participants were identified. The largest opinion group among farmers – 42 % of respondents – represented “protectors of vested rights” who in essence want the current CAP to continue, supplemented by other support instruments. Only a relatively small share of the interviewed citizens (10%) were of similar opinion, which means that there will presumably be little support among the general public of “more of the same” in agricultural policy. However, the study also revealed some clear similarities between the two stakeholder groups. The largest group in the sample of citizens (29%) was characterized by their market skepticism and desire for agricultural payments to be focused on smallholder and organic farms. Respondents belonging to this group find that the CAP should support the production and marketing of local food products rather than promoting international competitiveness and export. This opinion group could also be found in the sample of farmers (24 %).

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