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Rural development policy is one of the pillars of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This pillar should support farmers in facing challenges for rural areas, such as aging, climate change, rising production costs and declining economic activity. Measures that contribute to this are eligible for EU funding under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Unlike the other pillar of the CAP (direct payments and market measures), the EU reimburses up to 50% of the costs of rural development measures.
EAFRD funds can be used for agricultural and non-agricultural activities, provided they pursue the following priorities:
Member States must translate European rural development policy into regional rural development programs (RDPs). The RDP is an important instrument for the provinces and water boards to strengthen nature and water policy. European investments, with co-financing from the provinces, provide an impulse for (the development of) the rural area and the regional economy.
In addition to rural development under the CAP, regional policy also focuses on rural development with the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). The rural development of the regional policy is mainly aimed at the poorest regions, while the rural development of the CAP focuses on all rural areas.
Each of the twelve Dutch provinces produced a unique RDP. The RDPs were produced for the period 2013-2020, but are extended for the period of 2021 and 2022 as a transition period towards the new CAP, which is expected to be launched in 2023.
At this website, an overview of the RDP measures per Dutch province is presented: RVO-website.