The European Commission has published a review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2014-2020, highlighting the main changes the EU agriculture sector has undergone as a result of CAP between those years.

The commission's review says that the CAP "as a whole" has helped support and stabilise farm incomes in the period, while market measures have helped limit domestic price volatility of most agricultural products and facilitated price recovery in sectors affected by a market crisis.

The number of beneficiaries under the 2014-2020 CAP reached 6 million in 2019.

The review noted that 20% of beneficiaries received 80% of direct payments but that this ratio "essentially mirrors" the distribution (and in some member states the concentration) of land ownership.

Most large beneficiaries in the EU are family farms of between 20ha and 100ha and receive more than €7,500. About half of all beneficiaries are very small farms, with less than 5ha.

The 2014-2020 CAP resulted in a "significant redistribution" of direct payments to smaller farmers and to areas facing natural constraints, the commission says.

Between 2017 and 2019, the payments per hectare to farmers in the smallest category (producing under €8,000 of standard output) increased by 18% compared to between 2011 and 2013.

Direct payments and rural development support represent close to 50% of farmers’ income in mountain areas. Nevertheless, the high level of total income support in mountain areas does not compensate fully for the income gap with non-mountain areas.

As well as that, an analysis of income, and distribution of direct payments by income, shows "room for improvement" in targeting the support to those who need it most.

In terms of productivity, the total level of EU agricultural output increased by 6% from 2013 to 2019 (this figure does not include the UK).

The last CAP also saw the number of producer organisations (POs) and associations of producer organisations increase by 7% between 2016 and 2020.

The EU accounted for 18% of global agri-food exports in 2019. CAP support for promotion programmes "was effective in raising the awareness and profile of EU products, particularly in markets with the highest growth potential".

Looking at labelling, the estimated total sales value of products under geographical indications or traditional specialties (such as protected geographical indication - PGI) amounted to €77 billion in the EU-28 (including the UK) in 2017, accounting for 7% of total food and drink sales.

The review found that there is "room to improve" consumer understanding of EU labelling rules and quality schemes, and to make marketing standards more consistent with "evolving public concerns" on health nutrition, environment and climate.