On the 13th of February 2015 the European Commission officially approved Slovenia’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period 2014–2020. Slovenia is thus in the first group of Member States that will be able to implement the measures of the new programme period. This confirmation ensures 1.1 billion euros for the development of Slovenian agriculture and rural areas, with 838 million euros coming from the EU budget.
Measures included under the Slovenian RDP 2014-2020 are:
- Measure 1 – Knowledge transfer and information actions
- Measure 2 – Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services
- Measure 3 – Quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs
- Measure 4 – Investments in physical assets
- Measure 6 – Farm and business development
- Measure 7 – Basic services and village renewal in rural areas
- Measure 8 – Investments in forest area development and improvement of the viability of forests
- Measure 9 – Setting-up of producer groups and organisations
- Measure 10 – Agri-environment-climate payments
- Measure 11 – Organic farming
- Measure 13 – Payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints
- Measure 14 – Animal welfare
- Measure 16 – Cooperation
- Measure 19 – Support for LEADER local development (CLLD – community-led local development)
The four biggest RDP measures in budgetary terms (total public funding) are:
- € 266 million allocated to Measure 13 – Payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints
- € 228 million allocated to Measure 4 – Investments in physical assets
- € 204 million allocated to Measure 10 – Agri-environment-climate payments
- € 125 million allocated to the Measure 6 – Farm and business development
The RDP of Slovenia will fund action under five out of six Rural Development Priorities. The focus of each priority is explained briefly below.
- Knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas:
This cross-cutting Priority will be addressed through measures supporting training and advisory services for rural people and businesses: nearly 100 000 places on training courses will be provided. In addition, joint innovative activity of an economic, environmental or social character will be promoted, including in the framework of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability.
- Competitiveness of agri-sector and sustainable forestry:
In the long term, the agricultural holdings will improve their competitiveness through better economic and environmental performance and an increased share of young farmers among farm managers. 3.4 % of holdings will receive support to invest in organic production, adaptation to climate change, animal welfare, water and energy efficiency and general technological improvements. Furthermore, 3.5% of holdings should receive support for young farmers to get started and for structural adjustment after the initial setting-up.
- Food chain organisation, including processing and marketing of agricultural products and animal welfare:
Added value will be created by improving product quality and marketing, through support for new participation in quality schemes and for setting up producer groups. Furthermore, funded cooperation between agricultural holdings, processing companies and research institutions will help to develop new products and build short supply chains. This funding will be complemented by support for investments in processing and marketing agricultural products. There will also be funding for animal welfare practices going beyond compulsory standards.
- Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry:
29 % of farmland will be placed under funded contracts to improve biodiversity, 24 % under contracts for better water management and 27 % under contracts for improving soil management1 – including through organic farming, steps against erosion, better management of pesticides and fertilisers, and habitat maintenance. There will also be particular support for restoring forest habitats damaged by the sleet-andstorm disaster of February 2014.
- Local development and job creation in rural areas:
The programme will fund Local Development Strategies drawn up and implemented by Local Action Groups under the LEADER approach: these will cover areas containing 66 % of the rural population. Support will also help to create and develop small businesses and allow farms to diversify into non-agricultural activities. Taken together, all these activities will help to create nearly 600 jobs.