OMNIBUS REGULATION: NEW SIMPLIFIED NORMS IN AGRICULTURE
The Council adopted the agricultural part of the so-called omnibus regulation, following the informal agreement reached with the European Parliament on 12 October. The adopted regulation makes the following technical improvements to the four Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regulations and will enter into force on 1 January 2018.
- Direct payments: the rules on permanent grassland have been modified so as to provide greater flexibility for member states. Certain elements of greening will also become simpler. In addition, the distinction between active and non-active farmers will become optional, thereby allowing member states where it resulted in an excessive administrative burden to discontinue it.
- Rural development: risk management measures will become more attractive as some thresholds are lowered while support rates are increased. Also, the use of financial instruments will be simplified.
- Common market organization: some prerogatives of producer organizations, such as planning production, optimising production costs, placing on the market and negotiating contracts for the supply of agricultural products on behalf of members, will be extended to all sectors with a view to improving the position of farmers in the supply chain. These prerogatives already exist in sectors such as olive oil, beef and arable crops. The option of collectively negotiating value-sharing terms in contracts will be extended to sectors other than sugar and will be voluntary
RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMING: LESS COMPLEXITY AND MORE FOCUS ON RESULTS NEEDED
A new process for planning EU rural development spending is too long and complex, with shortcomings that hinder both performance and results, according to a report from the European Court of Auditors.
“Planning for a new period always faces the problem of starting before adequate, relevant data are available from previous periods”. We found that the programming documents are too complex and voluminous and yet insufficiently focused on expected results”., said Janusz Wojciechowski, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report.
The auditors examined whether the new EU strategic framework for 2014‐2020 reflected a greater focus on performance and whether the new process resulted in good quality Rural Development Programmes which would lead to better results.
Even though the framework aimed at a results‐based approach, the approved programmes were long and complex, with shortcomings that would hinder the focus on performance and results.
Also, despite the Commission’s efforts, implementation did not start earlier and planned spending began more slowly than before.
The report can be read here
GUIDE FOR LEADER/CLLD EVALUATION
The Evaluation Helpdesk has published a guideline regarding the LEADER/CLLD evaluation, a non-binding document, giving a wider set of recommendations on how to formulate and manage LEADER/CLLD evaluations, both at the RDP and LAG levels.
The guide is available in 23 languages here: http://bit.ly/2xJwYOw
9th NRNs' MEETING AND SOCIAL INCLUSION WORKSHOP
9th NRN meeting&social inclusion workshop, ENRD 2017
During 15-16 November, at Nicosia, took place the 9th NRNs' meeting and the social inclusion workshop.
NRN representatives from 21 countries agreed on simplified formats for collecting network statistics and exchanging on thematic initiatives, as well as on the future approach to identifying and presenting good practice examples.
Within the meeting were also discussed joint projects and networking tools related to innovation, rural proofing, and communication.
Regarding the social inclusion workshop, it aimed issues faced by the rural areas such as unemployment rate and poverty, migrants, elders, persons with disabilities and Roma, which the participants analyzed and to which were suggested improvements.
More details here (NRNs' meeting) and here (social inclusion workshop).
Photos courtesy of NRN Cyprus
EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL INNOVATION IN RURAL AREAS
SIMRA (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas) has recently a new brochure regarding social innovation activities in rural areas across Europe and the Mediterranean regions.
Within this edition are presented examples from Slovakia, United Kingdom, Greece and Tunisia.
NATIONAL RURAL NETWORKS’ SUPPORT TO THE EVALUATION OF RDPS WORKSHOP
Evaluation Helpdesk, 2017
During 30 November - 1 December 201, the Evaluation Helpdesk organized at Athens, the National Rural Networks’ support to the evaluation of RDPs workshop.
The workshop explored and analyzed the potential activities of National Rural Networks in supporting the evaluation ofRDPs all through the evaluation cycle.
Thus, within the work groups were performed exchanges of experience regarding the ways in which the National Rural networks can support evaluation and increase awareness regarding the importance of evaluation.
Thereby, was highlighted that current evaluation practices vary within member states.
Some NRNs contribute to communicating the results of evaluation through publications and within events, while others develop training courses, assistance in collecting data on RDP indicators, and others have own working teams or networks with tasks on evaluation.
More information can be found here .
Photos courtesy of Evaluation Helpdesk
SECOND MEETING OF THEMATIC WORKING GROUP ON SMART VILLAGES
Smart villages, ENRD 2017
On the 7th December 2017, at Bruxelles, took place the second meeting of the Smart villages Thematic Working Group, within which was discussed the social innovation approach and the initiatives which can contribute to its support and to the revitalization of rural services.
The participants were invited to present examples from their member states, which correspond to the smart villages approach.
Thereby, the discussions aimed aspects such as good practices and mentoring in rural areas, changing mindsets, increasing the involvement of society in the decision-making process and rural proofing.
Furthermore, were analyzed the means through which the smart villages concept can be implemented and adapted:
More details here: http://bit.ly/2CUsvrv
- Creating, adapting and providing tools for planning at communities' level;
- Support through business plans;
- Providing integrated services/flexibility regarding the financing of innovative projects.
- Improving coordination and integration of RDPs with other funds.
SIGNING OF THE FIRST FINANCING AGREEMENT WITH EUROPEAN INVESTMENT FUND
On 28th November 2017, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture have signed the first agricultural mandate agreement to support local farmers in Romania.
The mandate is established under the National Rural Development Programme and financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) with national co-financing.
It will allow EIF to roll-out a new risk-sharing product, which will significantly lower the interest rates and will provide improved collateral requirements on loans for agricultural companies.
In line with DG AGRI’s and the Romanian Government’s agricultural policy objectives, the mandate will support the capital expenditure of small farms as well as agricultural holdings and the co-financing of agricultural subsidies.
Commenting on the signing, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said:
“Romania boasts one of the highest agricultural outputs of the EU Member States. By partnering with the local Ministry of Agriculture we will be able to create more opportunities for Romanian farmers, particularly small farms, to expand their production and further enhance the competitiveness of the sector."
Romanian Government representative, the Minister of agriculture and rural development, Petre Daea said:
“The signing of this Financing Agreement at the level of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development represents a solution to the difficulties faced by our farmers in sustaining the necessary investments for the development of agriculture and rural areas in Romania. The use of NRDP funds for granting more favorable loans to farmers contributes both to an improved agricultural performance as well as to the integration into an increasingly competitive market”.
DG AGRI representative, Director General, Jerzy Bogdan Plewa said:
“I congratulate Romania for having finalized the negotiations for the implementation of a Risk-Sharing Loan Instrument in Romania financed under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Under this financing agreement, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank are working together to help improve access to finance for farmers and other rural businesses, strengthening their competitiveness and sustainability. Financial instruments can help us to get even more value out of rural development policy, the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy”.
EAT SMART CONFERENCE 2017
On 28th November 2017 took place the second edition of EAT SMART conference – event organised by Green Report in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, gathering representatives of the public central and local authorities, civil society, business, retail, HoReCa, industry, transport, producers etc.
Similar to the edition held in 2016, the conference aimed to identify, present and promote means of decreasing food waste, together with institutions involved in the domain.
One of the important elements in reaching these objectives, is education.
If there is a lack on the topic of nutrition in schools, examples can be provided at home.
“We must teach our children what healthy diet means. It's important to give attention to what we eat, not only to how we look" mentioned Joseph Hadad, chef.
Speaker within the event, mr. Mihai Vișan – state secretary within MARD mentioned that the main support in controlling the prices is represented by production, and that producers are going to be supported also through association/partnership.
“Partnership among producers is one of the methods through which local products can be supported to enter the market. One of the options that small producers are offered is food supply chain, niche production not quantity." declared Mihai Vișan, state secretary .
Furthermore, local producers contribute also to preserving biodiversity, an aspect that is not reflected within the price. “The right price should be a compensation for the producer and an affordable price for the consumer” mentioned Ben Mehedin, Community manager within ADEPT Foundation.
Another important aspect is ensuring the promotion and security of Romanian products in shops and hypermarkets. The main aspect taken into account up to now has been the price.
“Is necessary to educate consumers regarding nutrition and food choices, as well as understanding and supporting the authorities with tasks in certifying the products” said Paul Anghel – general director within National Authority for Consumer Protection.
The same point of view regarding education about foodwaste, was supported also within the debate on consumers' contribution to decreasing foodwaste, concluding that there is need for a school discipline on the subject , as well as at home.
Since November 2016, in Romania has been set-up and functioning the Food Bank - Banca pentru Colectarea și Distribuția Alimentelor .
More information about the speakers and the debates held within the EAT SMART conference can be found (in Romanian) here: https://www.green-report.ro/eat-smart/
Photos: NRN Romania and Green Report
CONTRIBUTION OF CIRCULAR ECONOMY TO THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF AGRI-FOOD SECTOR
On 23 rd November, USAMV Bucharest hosted the Contribution of circular economy to the sustainable development of agri-food sector conference, organized with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Romania, with the help of Wageningen University, European Commission experts, circular business developers from the Netherlands and Romania. Similar events were organized at Cluj and Iași in collaboration with the USAMV from the two cities.
Circular economy concept means an economy with zero waste, which means a product or process within one of the two categories: biodegradable component or a component with 100% recycling potential.
Using regeneration practices based on circular economy can contribute to adding a plus value to products and reconstructing natural capital.
The presentations were addressed both to representatives of central and local authorities, academica and research, business and to everyone interested in circular economy and its benefits.
The European Commission's approach towards circular economy has already been translated into legislative sets and innovative projects. The action plan dedicated to circular economy adopted in 2015 includes relevant actions for agriculture and food industry - namely food waste, reusing of water and fertilizers. Also, the Commission has set up in 2016 a platform dedicated to food waste - involving both Member States as well as food suply chain actors.
Presentations from the event can be found here
"CHOOSE THE SHEEP" IN SIBIU, ALBA AND CLUJ
On 18 November, Sibiu hosted the press conference on the status of the ”Telemeaua de Sibiu” PGI
Protected Geographical Indication and the "Choose the sheep" campaign.
The info campaign "Choose the sheep" aiming at increasing the awareness and promote the consumption of sheep meat and products and it is carried on by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, reached Cluj-Napoca on 25-269 November and Alba-Iulia on 30 november - 1 Decemberr.
Minister DAEA met attended both events and met with the sheep breeders' associations and local authorities.
NRN representatives at local level participated at the events, ensuring the visibility of RDP, LEADER and NRN, and sharing recent information with the public.