Good progress in implementing the Rural Development Programme: Monitoring Committee approved the first annual report
The chair of the Monitoring Committee of the Rural Development Programme, Permanent Secretary Jaana Husu-Kallio opened the meeting of the Monitoring Committee in a very positive spirit. – Implementation has got off to a good start and decisions can be made regarding all of the programme measures, says Jaana Husu-Kallio. It is easy to continue from this.
Neda Skakelja, Head of Unit at the DG AGRI, was also present at the meeting.
– The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland is one of the first programmes approved by the Commission for the period 2014–2020. Finland can be very happy with the rapid progress made with the programme, says Neda Skakelja.
The meeting of the Monitoring Committee in Turku last May discussed and approved the first annual reports on the programming period 2014–2020 concerning the years 2014 and 2015.
Objectives for animal welfare and environment payments were met
Virva Terho, Rural Economist at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, presented the annual reports on the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland for 2014 and 2015. By the end of 2015 support payments had been made regarding advisory services, farm investments, environment measures, organic production, areas facing natural or other specific constraints, and animal welfare.
In the Neuvo2020 measure a total of 575 advisors had been approved and by the end of 2015 there had been 5 208 advisory events on 4 659 farms. The objectives for the whole programming period is that advice is provided to a total of 43 000 farms. Of this objective 10.8% was achieved during the first year.
The number of decisions on granting investment aid was about 960. The investment aids granted totalled EUR 47.4 million, including both EU co-financed subsidies and those granted as national top-ups. A total of 180 applications for start-up aid for young farmers were submitted, which led to 130 decisions on granting the aid in 2015.
In 2014–2015 altogether 45 624 farms submitted applications concerning commitments to environment measures covering an area of 2.06 million hectares in total. The number of applications concerning environment contracts was 2 500. Support for organic production was paid to 3 993 beneficiaries with a total area of 200 828 hectares. The area covered by the payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints was 2.81 million hectares and the number of farms was 51 451.
6 395 farms gave a commitment to animal welfare measures. Of the cattle farms 41%, 80% of pig farms, 42% of sheep and goat farms, and 85% of poultry farms gave the commitment to animal welfare measures. This means that the objectives concerning environment and animal welfare payments for the whole programming period have already been met.
By the end of 2015 a total of 1 574 applications for project support and 1 208 applications concerning business support were submitted. Of the applications for project support 62% had been submitted via the Leader groups.
Payments well ahead of the rest of the EU
Antti-Jussi Oikarinen, Director of Department at the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs, brings good news about the payments under the Rural Development Programme.
– Finland's cumulative percentage for payments right now is about 28%, which is the best in the EU. The EU average is 8.94%.
The applicants have been really eager to use the new electronic application systems.
– The majority of applications were submitted electronically. The complexity of the support schemes has obviously been quite a challenge with regard to the functioning of the information systems. For the time being application submitted in paper format are also accepted.
Virva Terho, Rural Economist, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. 358 2951 62 141 email@example.com
Further information to the applicants:
Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and Leader groups
The Rural Development Programme is a key instrument for the renewal of the countryside and promoting rural viability. The current programming period covers the years 2014–2020 and the public funding for the whole period totals EUR 8.181 billion.