4.7 C
Nicosia
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Bonus for young farmers – Investment measures announced

Must read

Bonus for young farmers - Investment measures announced

Angelos Nikolaou

The Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment is in the final stages of announcing a new measure to support the first establishment of young farmers. For the first time through this plan, a lump sum of up to € 50 thousand will be given from the € 20 thousand that concerned the previous announcements, and the beneficiaries can be young people up to 40 years old.

The new announcements are expected in November and are seen by the ministry as an opportunity to meet the new challenges emerging for the primary sector, as well as to align with the increased environmental ambition of the new Common Agricultural Policy and the Green Agreement.

At the same time, emphasis is placed on the facilitation and integration of young farmers in the sector with special emphasis on innovative actions, smart agriculture, green growth and the circular economy, the integration and support of young farmers and the management of peculiarities of the primary sector in Cyprus. Therefore, up to 100 new persons can be directly subsidized through the plan, but they should not have been registered in the register of Social Security Services for more than 18 months from the date of their submission to the new measure to be announced. It is noted that young farmers will be able to benefit simultaneously from the measure for investments in agricultural and livestock farms.

It is well known that young people in the countryside face challenges such as leaving their areas, desertification and generally isolating themselves from urban areas. However, even in these areas there are opportunities that young people should take advantage of, with their technical training, their willingness to progress and develop and their high level of education.

Opportunities arise in both mountainous and lowland areas and there are comparative advantages. The production of special local products and the promotion of their production / manufacturing process, the promotion of the culture and tradition of each region, the strengthening of the operation of traditional family crafts, the investments in agritourism enterprises and accommodation and catering enterprises, are just some of the these opportunities. Especially in the mountains, young people can take advantage of the tranquility, safety, natural environment, the milder pace of life, as well as the altitude, which contributes to the production of quality products.

Young people who want to deal with the agricultural sector had the opportunity, last Tuesday, to be informed, but also to exchange views with the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture who are preparing the new announcements of the investment measures.

The event for young people took place at the Athalassa Environmental Information and Education Center, co-organized by the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis and the President of the Cyprus Youth Organization, Kleanthis Koutsoftas. Specifically, the event was organized by the Managing Authority of the Rural Development Program (RDP) 2014-2020 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment (YGAAP), the Cyprus Youth Organization and the National Agricultural Network.

In addition to being informed about the new investment measures, the attendees had the opportunity to be informed about the sponsorship plan to strengthen the new business activity presented by the Director of Industry and Technology Service Christos Fotiadis.

It was a different meeting of young people who were interested in being informed first hand about the new measures of the RDP and the new Strategic Planning 2023-2027, as they were formed during the consultation and exchange of views with the young people themselves, as well as the suggestions that emerged from them.

The active participation of rural youth in the primary sector is considered very important, as their knowledge and experience in technology and innovation can contribute to the adoption of practices that are not currently at the heart of agricultural / livestock production.

The Minister of Agriculture

Addressing the young people, Minister Costas Kadis said that as a ministry “we support in every way actions such as the current one, which promote the involvement of young people in the agricultural sector and, at the same time, give them the opportunity to submit their valuable views.”

At the same time, he said, such meetings contribute to the realization of the goals of our ministry for further development of agriculture and animal husbandry, for sustainable management of our natural resources, for the revitalization of the countryside and for the improvement of the income and the daily life of the farmer.

For the new programming period, corresponding measures will apply with a focus on young people, which are formed taking into account the results of the wide consultation with them as well as new trends and developments, such as e.g. the registration of halloumi as a product of Protected Designation of Origin and the consequent prospects that open up in our country.

In addition, the implementation of a series of initiatives and the implementation of new legislation related to issues such as highlighting the value and quality of our quality agricultural products, tackling unfair commercial practices in the agricultural sector, improving the operation of the Public Markets for the benefit of the producer, the promotion of the institution of the visitable farm, the improvement of the housing policy for young people, the development of infrastructure in the countryside, programs to support youth entrepreneurship, etc.

According to Mr. Kadis, the ministry is carefully studying everything that concerns young people, especially those employed in the primary sector. Issues such as the high cost of the initial investment for the young farmer, the ongoing need for liquidity, the difficulty of raising funds and financing from banks, the cost of modernizing and upgrading businesses as well as other horizontal issues that are difficult for our young people, are already in at the heart of our plans, through which ways are sought to facilitate and support their activities in the agricultural sector.

At the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture announced the intention of the ministry to announce, in the near future, a competition for the award of good practices and innovation in the primary sector. The aim is to give the opportunity to highlight these practices, so that they can be an inspiration for all young people who would like to be active in the agricultural sector and for existing producers who want to upgrade their units, through the adoption of new technology and innovation.

Access to finance is not easy at all

The Managing Authority in collaboration with the National Agricultural Network and the Cyprus Youth Organization held two open consultations with young people in the countryside and rural areas. The consultations took place in Avgorou and Agro with the aim of discussing and recording the needs, problems and suggestions of young people in the countryside and rural areas. After the conclusions were recorded, a meeting of the young people was held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment with the political head of the Ministry, Costas Kadis.

The most important problems and weaknesses that occur in the effort of young people to engage in agriculture are: • Lack of easy access to capital due to strict and restrictive criteria by banks and • Lack of incentives for young people to settle in rural areas.

Ways that young people could be supported to settle in agriculture as heads of farms are: • Provide aid for investment in agriculture for young people intending to settle. • Providing additional incentives in relation to other farmers (increased scoring, increased rates) • Guiding, educating and training young people through integrated training programs • Improving information on the opportunities provided under the CAP • Facilitating the effort to find funders young people (contacts with banking institutions and the Ministry of Finance).

The strong points are the great importance that the new CAP attaches to the attraction of young farmers and the high educational level of young farmers.

Support for those affected by fires

The announcement of the measure for restoration of agricultural potential is addressed to farmers, professionals and non-farmers who have been affected by the recent fires. A 100% increase in total eligible costs is provided, 50% for the amount in excess of the estimated loss. The minimum aid amount was set at € 500 and the maximum at € 350,000. Cross-checks will be carried out to avoid double funding. Eligibility of expenses is valid from the day of the catastrophic event, expenses that were identified during the recording of losses are covered, while loss of income is not covered.

The director of the Industry and Technology Service, Christos Fotiadis, referred to the presentation of the sponsorship plan for the strengthening of the new business activity. The project aims to develop, support and promote entrepreneurship among young people, men and women, who want to do business, utilizing their knowledge, experience, training, talents and business plans.

The New Business Activity Support Plan is included in the “THALEIA” Program (Foundations of Change, Prosperity, Equality, Development) 2021-2027 and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union and the Republic of Cyprus. The budget of the first call for the needs of the project, which closes on the last day of 2021, amounts to € 30 million. The second time period for the submission of proposals may take place in the period May 2022 – December 2022.

Beneficiaries of the project are unemployed or employed who were not engaged in business at least six months before the date of submission of their proposal. Starting a business activity means starting a profession as a self-employed person or participating in an active business as a partner with a percentage of more than 25%. The plan is aimed at young people 18-29 years old, men 30-50 years old and women 30-55 years old. Young men and women, men and women, who reside legally in areas controlled by the KD for at least six months prior to their application and have the right of free access to work. Citizens who, for reasons of work, study or retraining, do not meet the above criteria, have the right to apply under this Plan, provided that their immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings) meets it.

It is noted that natural persons who are proven to offer their services only to one employer with the system of “hire services” and are obliged to pay Social Insurance as self-employed, are not considered to be engaged in business activity.

The sponsorship rate is 70% for young people aged 18-29, while for men aged 30-50 and women aged 30-55 the intensity of the sponsorship will be 60%. The sponsorship is calculated on the cost of the eligible costs of the investment (equipment, special facilities, construction, purchase or renovation / landscaping, promotion and other costs), with a maximum eligible budget per company of € 120,000 for processing activities , services, e-commerce and tourism. The minimum eligible total proposal budget was set at € 10,000.

Eligible activities are processing, services and tourism. Excluded are those related to the following: a) Primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products. b) The fisheries and aquaculture sectors. c) Wholesale and retail trade of any product or service other than trade carried out only with the use of Electronic Commerce (e-commerce).

In the categories of direct eligible costs are defined: 1) Purchase of buildings. 2) Erection – expansion of buildings. 3) Design – renovation of buildings. 4) Purchase of new machinery, equipment and means of transport. 5) Special facilities. 6) Promotion. Indirect costs are the other costs, ie flat rate of 7% (flat rate) which will be calculated on the total of direct eligible costs.

INVESTMENT MEASURES IN NOVEMBER

The aim of attracting young people to rural areas facing problems due to population aging is the goal of two of the three new tools that the RDP activates in November through the 2nd announcement of Measure 6.1 “Support for the first settlement of young farmers” and the 3rd announcement of the Measure 4.1 “Investments in agricultural and livestock holdings”. The third measure that will be announced is the first announcement of Measure 5.2 “Restoration of agricultural potential affected by natural disasters”. The available budget for investment measure 4.1 is € 30 million and for measure 6.1. € 5 million The budget for the restoration of agricultural potential reaches € 2 million.

In particular, the investment measure maintains the sub-plan for mountainous areas by introducing improved provisions on hail systems. Furthermore, there is funding for smart farming actions and the introduction of new technologies (with increased aid rates) and funding for green innovations (with increased aid rates).

In addition, there will be a new sub-plan for the installation of photovoltaic systems for irrigation purposes, the sub-plan for the management of livestock waste is maintained and there is a plan to support sheep and goats in order to secure halloumi, as well as support for other priority areas.

In the announcement for strengthening the first installation of young farmers, the budget is € 5 million. It is foreseen an increase of a one-time amount up to € 50,000, from € 20,000 that was until today and recognition of peculiarities of mountainous areas. The increased amount of aid will be given to those who submit a business plan with investments over € 100 thousand in mountainous areas, while for other areas the amount reaches € 40 thousand. For investments from € 50 thousand to € 60 thousand the amount of aid for mountainous areas amounts to € 40 thousand and for other areas € 20 thousand.

Source: www.philenews.com

- Advertisement -AliExpress WW

More articles

- Advertisement -AliExpress WW

Latest article