France, Ireland, and Italy outlined their draft bills for the 2021 budget for agriculture. At the European level, the Agri Committee voted the Recovery and Resilience plan for agriculture ahead of the discussion and vote in the plenary to be held in Strasbourg on October 20th. The bill passed in the Committee with 46 votes in favor, 2 abstentions, and no against. 

10/02 France: stable budget for agriculture

The agricultural section of the draft budget bill for 2021 has a budget of €4.8 billion. This budget will focus on three priorities: support for agriculture and agro-ecology, prevention of health risks, and training for young people and innovation. €1.74 billion will be earmarked for the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture. The system of exemption from employers’ contributions for the employment of seasonal workers, with €127 billion, is maintained. Agricultural education will benefit from €1.8 billion, while €600 million will be earmarked for food security.

10/07 Hungarian aid

The Hungarian ministry for agriculture set a €150 million for the payment of subsidies for field growers and animal farmers. The aid, coming from the rural development fund, targets cattle farmers, sheep and goat farmers, fruit & vegetable and potato growers. Targeted support could go from €1000 to a maximum of €7000 for animal farmers depending on how many animals their farm host; whereas field growers could benefit from a minimum support of €500 to a maximum of €5000 depending on the crop. 

10/07 Estonian aid

The Commission approved a €1.5 million state aid scheme to support companies in food processing affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The aid will take the form of direct aid, and it will available to micro, small, and medium enterprises to deal with their liquidity needs. The aid is in line with the Temporary framework, notably, it does not exceed €800 000 per company.

10/08 Italy: agriculture, who will get the aids?

Italian Tuscany and Abruzzo Regions have published the calls for the una tantum financial aid to compensate the losses of farmers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The measures have been included in the Regional Strategic Plans.  It is a temporary and exceptional financial support that targets small and medium farming enterprises with a total of revenues below  €9.5 and €17.3 million respectively for Abruzzo and Tuscany. The single enterprise will be able to benefit for a maximum of €7000.

10/12 Italian recovery plan for agriculture

During the meeting between the Regions ant the Minister for Agricultural policies Teresa Bellanova, the latter touched on the topic of the recovery plan for the sector: technological development, income support, and boosting jobs will be the priorities. The Minister commented the document on National Plan for the recovery and resilience (Pnrr) saying that “The opportunity of the Recovery has to be won, and we can only do it by sharing clear objectives, tools, and timing in the work. That means, for instance, to be very precise on the timing of implementation of these measures. In the document [Pnrr] we can only include real proposals that can be implemented in a certain time frame”. 

She listed some of the criteria the programme will finance, underlying the importance of using Italian tools and technologies “so to facilitate the green transition, support precision agriculture and improve the sustainability of the production chains”. 

Among the objectives that the strategy wishes to implement, there are: improving competitiveness of the agri-sector, strengthen the working contracts, building the logistical infrastructure so to support the development of SMEs, regeneration of production clusters, environmental protection, innovation, digital agriculture, etc. She concluded her intervention underlying the fact that “it is needed to act in an holistic approach, and understand the strategic role that agriculture can play”.

10/10 De Castro, rapporteur on the Recovery plan for agriculture

On Monday October 12th 2020, the European Parliament’s Agriculture & rural development Committee adopted the report by the Italian Paolo De Castro on the recovery plan fund for the agricultural sector. The €8 billion (current prices) that will be added to the second pillar of the CAP under the recovery fund was originally intended to be available as of the entry into force of the new CAP. With 46 votes in favor, none against and two abstentions, MEPs voted to make it available to European farmers as early as the transition period: 30% in 2021 and 70% in 2022. DeCastro commented “an outstanding measure for an unprecedented situation. Translated: fresh new funds for the agri-sector and the European rural areas“; he continued, “these funds – to which you should add the anticipated €2.6 billion of the EU budget, for a final package that surpasses the €10 billion – will have to represent an economic stimulus towards a more resilient, sustainable, and digital agriculture, in line with the Green Deal“. 

MEPs also want at least 37% of this money to be spent on environmental and climate-friendly measures, and at least 55% to support young farmers and investments in the future (modernization, security, renewable energy, etc.). They also amended the Brussels proposal to increase the European co-financing rate to 90% for certain measures.

10/13 Italy: payments for surface measures in PSR allowed until December, 31st 2020

Payments under the regional Psr area measures may be made by 31 December 2020 without penalty to the beneficiaries due to  the situation of objective difficulty caused by the Covid emergency in carrying out the planned controls within the established deadlines, granting, albeit exceptionally, the requested derogation. 

10/14 Ireland: budget 2021, Minister outlines 102€ million in livestock farming supports

Irish Minister for Agriculture McConalogue has outlined a funding line of €102 million dedicated to livestock as part of the 2021 budget. €85 million will be directed towards sustainable beef farming and €17 million to the Sheep welfare scheme. 

He also outlined the €450 million for the continuation of current schemes. €23 million will be dedicated to ring-fencing from Carbon-tax, together with the €79 million for environmental measures, topping the additional €56 million from the EU.

10/16 Spain: anticipated CAP payments up to 70% of direct payments

Luis Planas, the Agri-fish & nutrition minister of the Spanish government announced that up to 70% of the CAP direct payments for 2020 can be anticipated between October 16th and November 30th. The €3.42 billion will benefit the almost 680 000 farmers who asked for this measure. The available funds will be distributed as follows: €852 m to Andalucia, €351,9 m to Castilla-la Mancha, €22,28 m to Murcia, €53,9 m to Navarra, €31,2 m to Comunidad Valenciana.

The rest of the financing will be distributed to the rest of the Spanish regions in the following weeks. 

The Minister commented the event by asserting that the next CAP should have a “Mediterranean accent”, and that producers of fruits and vegetables should be included in the first pillar programme aids schemes.