CAP Strategic Plan sent to the European Commission
- Datum objave 23.12.2021
Wet meadows in Šentjernej field, author: Andrej Hudoklin
Slovenia is one of the first EU countries to send a strategic plan for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) (SP 2023-2027) in the range of 755 pages to the European Commission. Today at the press conference, Dr. Jože Podgoršek presented SP 2023-2027: “I am extremely pleased with the process of drawing up the strategic plan. The content could be different, but agriculture is a sector that cannot be restructured quickly. But in the process of drawing up the plan, we learned to talk. I believe that we have surpassed the framework of each farm and began to look at the whole of agriculture. The strategic plan inspires optimism for agricultural development.”
With the adoption of the new Common Agricultural Policy, the agricultural sector will continue to be able to guarantee, in a sustainable manner, a sufficient supply of safe and high-quality food for EU citizens. Member States must by January 1st 2022 submit its SP 2023-2027 to the European Commission, Slovenia sent SP 2023-2027 for Slovenia today, December 23rd 2021. SP 2023-2027 is a key innovation of the new CAP and allows Member States to adapt the implementation of the CAP to a greater extent than hitherto to the needs of their agricultural communities in cooperation with local communities and stakeholders.
At the press conference, Dr Jože Podgoršek presented the content of SP 2023-2027, its key features and the course of its creation. The Minister also thanked everyone, both stakeholders who actively participated in this longer period of drafting of the document, as well as all the colleagues at the MAFF, who worked in the background throughout the process of drafting the document and played an important role in the operational process of drafting this document.
SP 2023-2027 provides conditions for resilient and competitive food production and processing for Slovenia, mainly through the preservation of the production potential and volume of agricultural land and the provision of adequate and stable incomes of agricultural holdings, including in disadvantaged areas and sectors in difficulty, through the provision of safe and quality food, strengthening agri-food chains and improving the position of the farmer in the chain, promoting food production with higher added value and generational renewal.
SP 2023-2027 focuses on protecting and sustainably managing natural resources, mitigating and adapting to climate change and preserving biodiversity. Conditionality rules represent a standard, while payments for climate and environment schemes under direct payments or agri-environment-climate payments under Pillar II (Agri-environment-climate) represent the implementation of above-standard forms of farming. Schemes for the climate and the environment are one-yearly and widely available, and the CECs are highly targeted and results-oriented on thematic areas and individual areas that require action to maintain or improve the state of the environment and to mitigate or adapt to climate change. Special attention is given to narrower nature conservation (special habitats) and water protection areas and areas where environmental objectives are not achieved. For the first time, we are also introducing payments for NATURA 2000 sites and supporting the implementation of the measures contained in the management plans for protected areas. We are also introducing non-productive investments that support the environmental function of agriculture and promote sustainable agricultural practices. We will also continue to support the conservation, sustainable use and development of plant genetic resources in agriculture.
Another important objective is to raise the quality of life and strengthen economic activity in rural areas, to maintain a vital rural and rural economy by promoting employment in agriculture, agri-food and other related sectors. In addition to agricultural activities, we will also develop complementary activities in these areas, including the bioeconomy, which contribute significantly to raising and stabilising farm incomes. We will continue with support for activities of local initiatives or community-led local development (LEADER/CLLD approach), in particular with a view to promoting employment in rural areas, greater social inclusion of residents, preservation of heritage in rural areas, sustainable forms of tourism, promotion of intergenerational cooperation and various social and “smart” services based on the concept of smart villages. Together with other EU funds and other national policies, we strive for the comprehensive development of Slovenian rural areas, which will only come to life if the various financial support is coordinated and complementary. In this way, broadband support, which is one of the basic prerequisites for rural development, will be fully available under the other EU funds under the Partnership Agreement for the 2021-2027 programming periods and the Recovery and Resilience Plan.
In the preparation, we proceeded from the current situation and trends and took into account, as far as possible, the natural and structural features of the Slovenian countryside, as well as the real needs of agriculture, food, forestry, rural areas, consumers and society at large. We have taken into account relevant European and national documents relating to the area covered by SP 2023-2027. The key strategic European direction of the future CAP is based on the objectives of the Green Deal under the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Biodiversity Strategy and the 2021 Long Term Vision for Rural Areas. At operational level, the recommendations of the European Commission (hereinafter: EC) for the Strategic Plan for Slovenia. The resolution “Our food, rural and natural resources from 2021” is a strategic basis for the unified SP 2023-2027, and we have taken into account a number of other strategic documents, notably in the field of environmental protection and climate change (including the EU Forest Strategy).
The funds of Pillar I of the CAP (EAGF) are primarily focused on basic income support for sustainability, where the biggest change is the abolition of payment entitlements. These payments continue to make a significant contribution to ensuring a basic level of income and thus also play an important stabilising role. Part of the funding is channelled through the Environment and Climate Scheme to promote the uptake of more sustainable agricultural practices (due to the high ambitions of environmental, climate and nature protection objectives in Pillar 2 Slovenia decided to use the rebate and therefore 15 % instead of 25 % of the envelope is allocated to the 1st pillar environmental and climate scheme). Analyses and derived needs have shown the sectors in difficulty involved in coupled income support. These are cattle farming, suckler cow farming, milk production in the mountain area and breeding of small ruminants. We will further promote the production of protein crops and allocate 2 % of the envelope to this deficit sector.
Under Pillar II interventions of SP 2023-2027, just over 41 % of EAFRD resources are earmarked for environmental objectives. These are concentrated in sub-interventions of agri-environment-climate measures, adaptation to climate change and mitigation measures, organic farming, animal welfare and nature conservation measures (including new Natura2000 payments, support for the implementation of measures under protected area management plans and non-productive investments that support the environmental function of agriculture and promote sustainable agricultural practices). We maintain payments for areas facing natural and other constraints, which account for 76.2 % of all utilised agricultural land and represent a particularly important factor in income stability on farms, while at the same time they have a positive impact on maintaining the cultivation of this sensitive area and thus on the conservation of natural resources, biodiversity and also rural settlement. Identified high priority needs are also focused on sustainable, technologically advanced and competitive agriculture and agri-food, solutions in favour of the transition to a circular economy and achieving higher added value throughout the production chain.
Complementarity and integrity of green architecture: conditionality rules represent a standard, while payments for climate and environment schemes under direct payments and agri-environment-climate payments under Pillar II (COP) constitute the implementation of above-standard forms of farming.
The development of Slovenian agriculture cannot be expected without generational renewal; we designed comprehensive support and a combination of different support for young farmers (start-up, investment measures, knowledge transfer and innovation, payment under direct payment schemes).
In the context of the implementation of SP 2023-2027, the focus is also on achieving the strategic objectives of individual agricultural sectors of livestock and plant production.
The successful development of Slovenian agriculture and rural areas is possible only if all stakeholders are connected and cooperated in the transfer of knowledge and innovation. We will promote development networks, partnerships of research institutions and other stakeholders of AKIS, pilot projects of knowledge transfer with a focus on applied and demonstration projects. The aim is to increase the level of competence of final beneficiaries. Particular attention is paid to the training of agricultural and forestry advisers, who are one of the key stakeholders in the knowledge transfer system.