CAP, THE ITALIAN COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICYSUPPORTING KEY PRIORITIES FOT ITALY'S RURAE DEVELOPMENT

PACThe Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is Europe's answer to the need for a decent standard of living for 12 million farmers and a stable, varied and safe food supply for its 500 million citizens. It strengthens the competitiveness and sustainability of EU agriculture by providing direct payments and market measures to farmers and finances programmes for the development of rural areas in the EU.

Investing in Italy's Agriculture: 2014-2020

During the next 7 years, the new CAP is going to invest around EUR 37.5 billion in Italy's farming sector and rural areas. Key political priorities have been defined at European level such as: jobs, sustainability, modernisation, innovation and quality. In parallel, flexibility is given to Italy to adapt both direct payments and rural development programmes to its specific needs.

 

Fairer and greener direct payments

The new direct payments are to be distributed in a fairer way between Member States, regions and between farmers, putting an end to 'historical references'. The budget available for direct payments in Italy will be around EUR 27 billion.

Only farmers currently active will benefit from income-support schemes and young farmers will be strongly encouraged to set up in business, with the introduction of a new 25% aid supplement during the first 5 years in addition to already existing measures.

Italian farmers will take simple, proven measures to promote sustainability and combat climate change with the support of the CAP. 30% of direct payments will be linked to three environmentally-friendly farming practices: crop diversification, maintaining permanent grassland and conserving 5% of areas of ecological interest or measures considered to have at least equivalent environmental benefits.

 

Market measures to strengthen the position of farmers in the food supply chain

To improve the balance of the food supply chain in Italy, new instruments will be dedicated to farmers, enabling them to get better organised and to market their products better. Professional and interprofessional organisations will be strengthened.

 

Supporting key priorities for Italy's rural development

For 2014-2020, Italy has been allocated around EUR 10.4 billion for measures benefiting its rural areas. This will be spent in accordance with well-defined priorities set out in so-called "rural development programmes" (RDPs): 21 will be defined at the regional level, while two will be managed at national level (the Italian Rural Network and a National Programme on risk and water management and biodiversity).

Italy will focus in particular on strengthening research, fostering knowledge transfer and innovation as a cross-cutting priority, together with a specific attention to the Digital agenda, for facilitating the access to information and communication technologies for rural areas. Moreover, efforts will be made on enhancing the competitiveness of production systems and particularly of agricultural enterprises; supporting sustainable energy and quality of life; promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency.

Key achievements: 2007 - 2013

Since 2007 the CAP has invested around EUR 40.5 billion in Italy's farming sector and rural areas with the objective of stabilising farmers' income, modernising and increasing the sustainability of Italian farms and securing the supply of safe, affordable and quality food for its citizens.

 

Italian farmers benefit from direct payments

During recent years, direct payments have been a key safety net. For example, in 2012 Italy received over EUR 4 billion of direct payments, benefitting more than 1.2 million beneficiaries, around 64% of whom received a payment below EUR 1250.

Activating the potential of key agricultural sectors

In 2012, the EU spent around EUR 759 million on market measures in Italy. The biggest share went to the wine and fruit and vegetables sectors, as well as food programmes and the olive oil sector.

Fostering growth and jobs in Italy's rural areas

The EU contributed to a whole range of different activities supporting agricultural production and benefitting Italy's rural areas by allowing to keep diversity in place and to transform it into a feature of economic strength, cultural richness and social cohesion.

 

The Italian strategy for EU support on rural development between 2007 and 2013 focused on three general objectives:

• Improve the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector;

• Progress in protecting the environment and the countryside;

• Increase the quality of life and the attractiveness of rural areas.

 

In concrete terms, as of end of 2012, Rural Development funds had helped Italy as follows:

• More than 16 500 young farmers were set up with a total investment (public and private) of EUR 0.80 billion;

• Almost 100 000 participants were involved in vocational training and information actions, through measures aimed at promoting knowledge and improving human potential;

• Great emphasis was given to modernisation of agricultural holdings and adding value to agricultural and forestry products with a total volume of investments (public and private) respectively of EUR 4.8 billion and EUR 2.2 billion;

• Two important measures were agri-environment payments and payments for farmers in mountain areas: 113 000 farms supported covering an area of more than 2.35 million hectares.

• Recreation and tourism development in rural areas through diversification into non-agricultural activities were supported by a total public expenditure of nearly EUR 246 million (nearly EUR 126 million of EU contribution), while the total volume of investments (public and private) was more than EUR 1 billion.

 

Examples of market measures supported by the CAP

 

Examples of Rural Development projects supported by the CAP

 

Renovating Rural Houses with Sustainably-Produced Wood

In the mountains of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region a group of residents wished to renovate their houses and rural buildings with certified wood materials. Walls, roofs, walkways, stairs and floors of rural houses and building annexes were renovated using the certified wood, all sourced from nearby producers; the project is a clear example of a ‘local-to-local’ chain.

Total cost: EUR 565 906 (EU contribution: EUR 103 750)

A New Recipy for a High Value Potato Supply-Chain

In the Lazio Region a consortium of cooperatives and producers bought the equipment needed to set-up an innovative, high-value supply-chain of 'ready-to-use' potatoes. Selling these potatoes provided value added to a part of the production that buyers would not purchase due to e.g. small size. The project also fostered the start of other initiatives.

Total cost: EUR 761 604 (EU contribution: EUR 134 042)

Organic Farming as a Way to Foster Farm Business Diversification

The project supports the "Pitrelli" farm in the Basilicata Region to maintain organic farming in its 55 hectares of orchards, olive groves, cereals and vegetable gardens, to improve sales and to diversify farm activities. The results achieved by selling organic products are encouraging the owners to further enlarge direct-selling activities.

Total cost: EUR 18 000/year (EU contribution: EUR 10 300/year)

Adding Value to Local Dairy Products: Pecorino Cheese

Following economic difficulties the project aimed to increase the competitiveness of the "Martinelli" farm in the Abbruzzo Region by modernising the farm equipment (e.g. modernising the stables). Among others this enabled the farm’s cheese to be certified and labelled as a "Pecorino di Farindola" Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO).

Total cost: EUR 1 418 552 (EU contribution: EUR 619 056)

Supporting Innovation and Efficiency Through Relief Services

The association "Maschinenring" groups over 5 000 farmers and foresters in the Province of Bolzano/Bozen. It enables the exchange of agricultural machinery and labour between producers (as beneficiary of EU funding it reimburses sustained costs) and provides training services. Reduced renewal costs and an optimised machinery use through sharing contribute to efficiency.

Total cost: EUR 529 025 (EU contribution: EUR 200 000)

An Integrated Supply-Chain for the Fig of Cosenza

In the Calabria Region a range of public and private sector stakeholders decided to work together in order to reverse the tendency of abandoning the region and the cultivation of figs of Cosenza, a traditional product. The actions of the project (e.g. introduction of new production systems, sterilisation techniques, and innovative packaging) resulted in the creation of an organised supply chain and the recognition of the (PDO) label "Fichi di Cosenza".

Total cost: EUR 17 357 455 (EU contribution: EUR 8 916 818)

 

ITALIAN AGRICULTURE AT A GLANCE

The primary sector accounts for 1.9% of the country's economy (total GVA) and for 3.8% of total employment. This is slightly higher than the European average in economic terms (1.7% in EU-27) and lower in employment (5.2% in EU-28).

Italy's 1 620 900 holdings are predominately small: indeed, 51% of holdings have less than 2 hectares.

The age structure of the farming community is comparatively older than in the EU-28: in Italy only 5.1% of farmers are under 35 years old (7.5% in EU-28), while 37.2% are older than 64 (29.7% in EU-28).

A very diversified production Importance of rural areas

 

Farmer's income continues to be lower than wages and salaries in other sectors of the economy

 

What do the Italians think of the CAP?

According to the most recent Eurobarometer of end-2013, three quarters of the Italians think that the financial support given by the EU through the CAP is either enough or too low (only 6% consider it "too high"). The main explanations proffered for why the EU allocates important resources to the CAP are that "financial aid to farmers makes it possible to guarantee the food supply" (46%), the need to "ensure production of food while protecting the environment" (37%) and that "agriculture requires heavy human and financial investments" (34%).

-RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA-

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