CAP, RDP, EAFRD: many acronyms aimed at the agricultural sector, but to say what?

From 2014-2020 programming to 2021-2027 programming

CAP is the acronym of common agricultural policy which, through strategies and funding, supports European rural communities to enhance the agri-food, forestry and environmental sustainability sectors of EU rural areas.

The three long-term rural development goals for the EU are:

  • stimulate the competitiveness of the agricultural sector
  • ensure the sustainable management of natural resources and climate action
  • achieve balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities, including the creation and maintenance of jobs.

The financing instrument of the CAP and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development(EAFRD) which supports rural development strategies and projects.

The EAFRD budget in Europe for the period 2014-2020 was around 100 billion euros and, by decision of the European Commission, it will run until 2023.

At the programmatic level, each member country draws up the National Rural Development Program (PSRN 2014-2020) which is co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) pursuant to Reg. (EU) no. 1305/2013, in Italy it is the task of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (Mipaaf) which concentrates actions for rural communities in harmony with the regions through the rural development plan (PSR), present in every Italian Region, through a plan aimed at the development of the territories and differentiated by Region.

At least 30% of each RDP funding must go to measures relevant to the environment and climate change, largely channeled through grants and annual payments to farmers who choose more environmentally friendly practices.

At least 5% of RDP funding must be allocated to actions based on the LEADER method. It is a bottom-up approach that brings together farmers, rural businesses, local organizations, public and private authorities from various sectors to form local action groups (GAL). The LAGs develop their own local development strategies, on the basis of which they manage their respective budgets, always in harmony with the reference Region.

Rural development programs can also support smart small towns. This initiative aims to provide a versatile set of tools to enable, promote and strengthen innovation in rural areas across Europe, addressing the common challenges faced by citizens living in rural areas.

On 1 June 2018, the European Commission presented a series of legislative proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2021-2017 Due to the ongoing negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, the provisional start date of the CAP reform proposal was postponed to 1 January 2023.

Noteworthy is the la network ENRD (european network for rural development) which aims to increase the involvement of stakeholders in rural development, improve the quality of rural development programs (RDP); better inform about the benefits of rural development policy e
support the evaluation of PSR.

As part of the 2021-2027 programming, the actions have not yet been definitively approved, to the point that the current program covers 2021 and 2022, the launch is awaited on January 1, 2023, but the European Commission's proposals are on the table aim to promote a sustainable and competitive agricultural sector capable of making a significant contribution to European Green Deal, in particular with regard to the strategy "from producer to consumer”And the strategy on biodiversity. The proposals focus in particular on the following aspects:

  • to ensure fair treatment and a stable economic future for farmers
  • set higher ambitions for environmental and climate action
  • safeguard the position of farmers at the heart of European society.

In order to achieve these general objectives, the Commission has set nine specific objectives:

  1. guaranteeing a fair income for farmers
  2. increase competitiveness
  3. rebalance the distribution of power in the food supply chain
  4. fight climate change 
  5. protect the environment
  6. safeguard the landscape and biodiversity
  7. support the generational change
  8. develop dynamic rural areas 
  9. protect the health and quality of food

Implementation and its full definition is expected in 2023.

Ines Caloisi

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