Funding for the Cypriot Farmers
The Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Cyprus was formally adopted by the European Commission on 3 December 2015, outlining the priorities of the Republic of Cyprus for using the €251.3 million of public money that is available for the 7-year period 2014-2020 (€132.2 million from the EU budget and € 121.1 million of national cofunding).
The RDP for Cyprus is putting particular emphasis on actions related to restoring, preserving, and enhancing ecosystems, economic development in rural areas, and competitiveness of the agri-food sector. For example, 36 742 hectares of agricultural land will be protected under agri-environment-climate contracts targeting preservation of biodiversity, improved water management and prevention of soil erosion. In addition, it is expected that 11 700 hectares (41.4%) of irrigated land will switch to more efficient irrigation systems. In order to improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector 730 agricultural holdings will benefit from support to improve their economic performance and to restructure and modernise. In addition, 300 young farmers will be granted business start-up aid and 2 800 training places will be created to foster innovation, knowledge transfer, cooperation, more sustainable farming practices, and robust rural businesses. The RDP will also implement the European Innovation Partnership to help deliver innovative solutions to the farm and forestry sectors.
Local development (Leader) will cover 11.5% of the rural population. Support for Rural Development is the 2nd Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, providing Member States with an envelope of EU funding to manage nationally or regionally under multi-annual, co-funded programmes. In total, 118 programmes are foreseen in all 27 Member States. The new RD Regulation for the period 2014-2020 addresses six economic, environmental, and social priorities, and programmes contain clear targets setting out what is to be achieved. Moreover, in order to coordinate actions better and maximise synergies with the other European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF), a Partnership Agreement has been agreed with each Member State highlighting its broad strategy for EU-funded structural investment.
EU agricultural policy focus 2021-2027
First introduced in Europe in 1962, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a common policy for all EU countries. It is regularly updated to ensure farmers can make a reasonable living and to tackle evolving threats to agriculture, rural living and the environment.
The CAP is supported by two funds drawn from the EU budget, with Member States controlling much of what is allocated and having the option to transfer up to 15% of their funding between direct payments and rural development.
This allows them to distribute funding appropriately to their own farming sector's priorities, while delivering on the ambitions of the Green Deal roadmap for making the EU's economy and environment sustainable.
Under the European Commission’s major recovery plan, Next Generation EU (NGEU), funding for the CAP 2021-2027 has been substantially increased to help agriculture recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact. An additional €26.4 billion from NGEU will bring the total funding proposed up to €391 billion for agriculture and rural development.
The MFF 2021-2027 substantially reinforces the CAP funding. In total, €391 billion is proposed for agriculture and rural development, commensurate to the importance of agriculture and rural development in the EU.
EU farmers as well as rural development communities and groups have been able to benefit from loans or guarantees under the Commission’s temporary framework for state aid that supports economies during the pandemic.
Farmers could qualify for a maximum aid of €100,000 per farm and food processing and marketing companies from a maximum of €800,000.
The 2021-2027 CAP prioritises small and medium-sized farms, encourages young farmers to join the profession and focuses on better rural development.
The CAP, together with funding incentives and research, aims to help new generations of farmers with proposals such as:
- increased mentoring and knowledge transfer
- more flexibility on taxation and inheritance rules
- easier access to loans with lower interest rates and longer repayment periods
The CAP is not only about looking forward; it’s also designed to protect what we already have. Preservation of Cyprus’ countryside is assisted through the CAP’s Rural Development Programmes (RDPs).
Rural areas are the fabric of our society and the heartbeat of our economy. They are a core part of our identity and our economic potential. We will cherish and preserve our rural areas and invest in their future.
A central priority of the Cyprus’ programme is restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture, including forestry, and about three quarters of funding is allocated to this priority.
LEADER is the mechanism that delivers development to local rural communities and it’s administered by Local Action Groups (LAGs), which are partnerships of both public and private bodies that select and approve projects in their respective areas.
Investment and innovation for sustainable agriculture
Investment in the future of agriculture is supported through the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation in food, agriculture, rural development and the bioeconomy.
The EU has also created the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) to ensure that research responds to ground-level needs of farmers and foresters.
EU strategies for rural development
The European Commission has adopted two new strategies that will help the CAP deliver on European Green Deal ambitions.
The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly.
It sets concrete targets such as halving the use of pesticides, reducing fertilizers by at least 20%, increasing agricultural land under organic farming to 25% and lowering antimicrobials used for farmed animals by 50%.
The new Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 tackles the key drivers of biodiversity loss, such as unsustainable use of land, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and invasive alien species.
The strategy proposes to bring back pollinators to agricultural land, enhance organic farming and other biodiversity-friendly farming practices and establish binding targets to restore damaged ecosystems.