Resilience vital for post-Brexit British agriculture

A CCRI research team is currently working on the EU funded (Horizon 2020) project called SURE-Farm (Towards SUstainable and REsilient EU FARMing systems).

Amid concerns about the viability of EU farming systems, the four-year SURE-Farm project is building on concepts of resilience thinking and is developing a comprehensive framework to identify the conditions that enable farming systems to become and remain resilient to a broad range of current and imminent stressors.

As the UK develops a new post-Brexit British agricultural policy, achieving resilience of the agricultural sector will be an important goal. Under the current European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the focus is on making the farming community more robust against shocks in the short run. The SURE-Farm project has just published a policy brief which outlines why a broader view of resilience is needed to ensure a sustainable agricultural sector in the longer term.

The policy brief considers the recent ‘Health and Harmony’ consultation paper set out proposals for phasing out direct payments in England and introducing a scheme to ensure that public money is spent on public goods (Defra 2018). Whilst the consultation paper recognises the need for risk management tools and improved data accessibility to help farmers deal with price volatility and other risks, the policy brief states that it will be important that these focus on enhancing the wider resilience of farming systems, and not just their ability to persist in the short term. It opines that flexibility, experimentation and learning will be important to broaden the focus of measures from mere adaptation to strengthening the capacity of farmers and farming systems to transform in the face of persistently changing circumstances.

Download and read the full policy brief. [ddownload id=”18132″ text=”SURE-Farm Policy Brief, June 2018″]


The CCRI team is led by Mauro Vigani and includes Rob BerryDamian Maye, Paul Courtney and Julie Urquhart. The CCRI team is involved in Work Packages 1,2,6 and 7, and it is task leader of tasks 2.2 and 3.3. This project builds on research work for the EU projects SUFISAGLAMURSOLINSA and VALERIE.

Find out more about SURE-Farm on the project website.