Farmers’ incomes are supported by the European Union by means of direct payments. In return, farmers are obliged to carry out agricultural activity and to respect a number of standards regarding food safety, environmental protection, animal welfare and the maintenance of land in good environmental and agricultural condition.
Rural Development funding helps to improve the competitiveness of farming and forestry, to protect the environment and the countryside, to improve the quality of life, to diversify 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) which primarily finances direct payments to farmers and measures to regulate agricultural markets, and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) which co-finances the rural development programmes of the Member States.
The EAGF and EAFRD are implemented in shared management between the Member States and the Union. This means among others that the Commission does not make payments directly to the beneficiaries of aid; this task is delegated to the Member States.
Direct payments and market measures
If you are a farmer or land manager, it is likely that you will be eligible to receive direct payments, the major form of EU funding in agriculture. The system of direct payments in the Common Agricultural Policy is mainly based on the single payment scheme and single area payment scheme, under which the amount of direct payment that you receive is not related to (decoupled from) the quantity of output from your farm or how many animals you have, which used to be the case in the past.
The main aim of direct payments is to support farmers' incomes. In return farmers are obliged to undertake agricultural activity on their land and to respect a number of standards concerning food safety, environmental protection, animal welfare and the maintenance of land in good environmental and agricultural condition.
Direct payments are administered through paying agencies appointed by national authorities.
Under certain conditions, Member States may decide to reduce the amount of the decoupled direct payment and decide to base the amount on the quantity of output or the number of animals that a farmer has.
Specific support schemes have been introduced or maintained for a number of products.
The purpose of market management is to help the organization of the markets as well as respond to market disturbances using measures such as intervention buying, private storage aid or export refunds or other exceptional market support.
Market measures are administered through paying agencies appointed by national authorities.
Under the 2014-2020 rural development policy, the EU will contribute over € 95 billion to investments in Member States which aim at:
- fostering the competitiveness of agriculture;
- ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources;
- combatting climate change and
- achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintenance of employment.
Funds for rural development are disbursed through programmes run by national governments: the government appoints the Managing Authority whose task is to inform potential beneficiaries of the support that is available, the rules that apply and the level of the EU contribution.
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 tender.