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A matter of days is the official announcement of the Sponsorship Plan for the creation and modernization of units for processing or marketing of agricultural products, a development that will mean the official acceptance of electronic applications. The project guide has already been published, along with a lot of information to those interested and as mentioned what remains is the official start of submitting applications. It was initially announced that the applications will be accepted from last Friday, however there was a slight delay in the context of some clarifications requested from the EU. . The project's budget is € 25 million, with the aim of spending at least € 5 million on applications for “very small” businesses and € 20 million on “small and medium-sized” enterprises.
The project is implemented within the framework of the Cyprus Recovery and Resilience Plan (SAP) and will be funded by the European Union (EU) Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, the central tool of NextGenerationEU, the temporary instrument for financing the EU recovery and exit from the crisis. caused by the pandemic.
The project, in addition to boosting the local agricultural processing industry, will also be used as a vehicle to further support mountainous areas as well as villages hit by fires in the summer, proposing increased sponsorships. Activities related to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, the wines and wine vinegar included are not covered by the plan.
All companies can choose to receive sponsorship according to & nbsp; the terms of Commission Regulation No. 702/2014 of 25 June 2014 or in accordance with & nbsp; with the terms of Reg. No. 1407/2013 of the Commission of 18 December 2013 which & nbsp; for de minimis aid (De Minimis), the duration of which is & nbsp; extended until 31 December 2022 and 31 December 2023, respectively. It is understood that only one of the two Regulations can be selected.
For companies that choose to receive sponsorship under & nbsp; in Reg. No. 702/2014, the amount of sponsorship amounts to 40% of & nbsp; eligible costs with a maximum sponsorship amount of € 500,000.
For companies that choose to sponsor according to & nbsp; Reg. No. 1407/2013 (De Minimis), the amount of the sponsorship will be & nbsp; at 50% of eligible costs.
In the case of very small businesses that are established or will & nbsp; located in mountainous and less-favored areas, which are defined in an annex to the plan, the amount of the sponsorship will be 60% of the eligible costs.
In the case of businesses located or to be located in fire-affected areas also specified in an annex, the amount & nbsp; The sponsorship will amount to 65% of the eligible costs. It is noted that under Article 3 (2) of the Rules of Procedure, the total amount of aid & nbsp; de minimis that can be assigned to a single business in three & nbsp; financial years amounts to € 200,000. & nbsp;
Purposes and beneficiaries
The purposes of the project include & nbsp; upgrading and/or setting up modern processing and/or marketing units for agricultural products as well as & nbsp; increasing the number of small and medium-sized enterprises using information and communication technologies, including e-commerce.
The project also aims to exploit raw materials of agricultural origin, utilizing primarily local production, the preservation and promotion of traditional and organic products and the creation of new jobs, especially in rural areas.
Beneficiaries of the financial aid that will be granted through the project are new or existing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), ie those that employ less than 250 employees and have an annual turnover of not more than 50 million euros. Beneficiaries include Producer Groups and Organizations recognized by the Competent Authority.
Specifically, as mentioned in the project guide, the following activities are eligible for funding:
The marketing of fruits and vegetables, ie the packaging, standardization, sorting, preservation, refrigeration, storage of fruits and vegetables, including potatoes (packages of fresh fruits and vegetables). The standardization/packaging of olive oil, eggs and the processing, standardization/packaging of meat. Meat repackaging is not included in the eligible activities. Milk collection/pre-freezing and milk pasteurization. Slaughterhouses for poultry, rabbits and other animals. Flower shops and packaging and distribution centers (investments at retail level are not eligible).
It is noted that aid to troubled companies is not allowed, with the exception of companies that were not in trouble on 31 December 2019 but became in trouble during the period from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021, due to the COVID 19. pandemic. e> Eligible costs for grant through the 25m project
Eligible costs for the sponsorship include, among others, investments in building upgrades, new equipment, digital upgrade costs and overheads with the plan setting the minimum amount of the proposed investment (eligible costs) at € 10,000. Specifically, the eligible costs that are taken into account for the calculation of the sponsorship concern investments in buildings and extensions of buildings and premises, in new machinery/equipment, & nbsp; digital upgrade costs, transportation and overhead.
Regarding the expenses for these buildings, they can concern the construction and/or expansion and/or configuration/layout of buildings and premises. In case the erection is carried out in & nbsp; property that does not belong to the applicant, then a lease agreement is required & nbsp; property between the applicant and the owner of the property. Costs may also include infrastructure for electromechanical and hydraulic & nbsp; facilities, safety measures, fire safety, air conditioning and & nbsp; ventilation (equipment eg air conditioners, safety, & nbsp; fire safety etc must be included in category 12.2 & nbsp; “Machinery/Equipment”).
Eligible costs for the category of buildings are also those for the installation of protection systems of & nbsp; environment, reducing pollution and saving energy and water as well as safety and sanitation systems, costs arising from the improvement of the interior & nbsp; quality control and showrooms/retail facilities exclusively for & nbsp; Recognized Producer Groups and Organizations.
Machinery and Equipment
The category of costs for machinery and equipment concerns, among others, cannibal machinery and equipment that serve & nbsp; production, quality control/testing, storage, disposal of & nbsp; products and the operation of the business (including & nbsp; administrative premises) provided that they are located within the productive & nbsp; unit.
In case the investment program includes cold rooms then an approved floor plan of the building must be submitted to & nbsp; which indicates the place where the cold room will be located. Also included are costs for air conditioning/heating systems, ventilation and & nbsp; safety and fire safety measures. Expenditure on equipment also includes expenditure on means of transporting products and raw materials & nbsp; inside the production site (forklifts – & nbsp; forklifts), small forklifts mounted on raw material transport vehicles & nbsp; and/or finished products and new automation systems such as storage media & nbsp; raw materials and products, storage equipment, within & nbsp; of the unit.
The category of expenses for means of transport, concerns the purchase of new commercial transport & nbsp; means necessary for the distribution of raw materials and finished products that will be used exclusively for the needs of the company. The eligibility of the means of transport will be decided according to the activity of the company & nbsp; and the need to use a special vehicle and the eligible costs for the purchase of commercial vehicles is limited to € 300,000.
The category of costs/investments for digital upgrade includes costs for electronic infrastructure (electronic equipment, servers, computers), for software systems (eg ERP, CRM, HRMS, etc.) and services related to information systems ( eg software configuration), provided that they are inextricably linked to & nbsp; acquisition or creation of software sponsored under & nbsp; design and costs of creating a website and/or creating & nbsp; e-shop. The maximum eligible & nbsp; cost for the creation of an online store (e-shop) is € 15,000. & nbsp;
Overheads associated with eligible costs relate, inter alia, to consultants' fees for preparing a feasibility study for & nbsp; project purposes – & nbsp; maximum amount up to € 4,000. It is noted, however, that the cost of a) preparation of the application file is not an eligible expense and & nbsp; b) of the feasibility study is eligible as required by & nbsp; based on the provisions of the plan. & nbsp; A copy of & nbsp; must be submitted for payment of the sponsorship relevant study. In case the submission of a feasibility study is required, it must be submitted with the application. Initial certification costs for food quality and safety management systems are also included, if associated with material investments & nbsp; of the project – & nbsp; with a maximum amount of € 5,000. According to the project guide, the start of the business plan can be done & nbsp; after the electronic submission of the application/proposal to the Ministry of Energy. Finally, it clarifies that in & nbsp; cases of expenditures for the purpose of preparing a feasibility study (where & nbsp; submission is required) and architectural or other building-related & nbsp; plans, the expenditures invoiced after 01/06/2021 are eligible . & nbsp;