Funding opportunities under the Common Agricultural Policy
Direct payments support farmers' incomes without being linked to production in return for them respecting standards of food safety, environmental protection, animal welfare and keeping the land in good condition.
Rural Development funding helps to improve competitiveness for farming and forestry, to protect the environment and the countryside, to improve the quality of life and diversification of the rural economy and to support locally based approaches to rural development.
What are the main sources of funding?
The agricultural expenditure is financed by two funds, which form part of the EU's general budget: the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) finances direct payments to farmers and measures to regulate agricultural markets such as public or private storage and export refunds, while the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) finances the rural development programmes of the Member States.
The Commission itself normally does not make payments to beneficiaries. According to the principle of shared management, this task is delegated to the Member States.
Direct payments and market measures
If you are an EU farmer and land manager, you are most likely eligible to receive direct payments, the major form of EU funding in agriculture. The 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy introduced a new system of direct payments, known as the Single Payment Scheme, under which aid is no longer linked to production.
The main aim of the single payment is to support farmers' incomes in return for them respecting standards of food safety, environmental protection, animal welfare and keeping the land in good condition. Farmers are encouraged to take their decisions based on market signals.
Direct payments are administered through paying agencies appointed by national authorities.
Under certain limited conditions, Member States may decide to reduce the value of payment entitlements and continue to make direct payments linked to production.
Specific support schemes have been introduced or maintained for a number of products. Traders and processors can, under certain conditions, receive export refunds as well as processing aid.
The purpose of market management is to respond to market disturbances using measures such es intervention buying or private storage aid or export refunds.
Market measures are administered through paying agencies appointed by national authorities.
Under the Rural Development policy 2007-2013, the EU will contribute over €90 billion to Member States investments to improve competitiveness for farming and forestry, to protect the environment and the countryside, to improve the quality of life and diversification of the rural economy. A fourth area (Leader) introduces funding opportunities for locally based approaches to rural development.
These funds are distributed through programmes run by national governments: the government appoints the Managing Authority whose task at project management level is to inform potential beneficiaries of how to get support, which rules apply and what EU contribution is available.
How to apply?
Please contact the Ministry of Agriculture in your country.
The only permanent CAP funding scheme which is centrally managed by the Commission is the scheme "Information measures relating to the Common Agricultural Policy".
Besides grants awarded following calls for proposals, the Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate-General also concludes public procurement contracts for the provision of services. These contracts are concluded following calls for tenders.