CEJA welcomes the adoption of all 118 Rural Development Programmes and in particular the indication that 170 000 young farmers will have access to business start-up aid in the coming years. However, many Member States are choosing not to implement this young farmer measure therefore leading to an unbalanced playing field for young farmers across the European Union with some Member States and regions focusing on the importance of generational renewal in their farming populations while others simply turn a blind eye to these needs. It is essential that the business start-up aid for young farmers under Rural Development in the current CAP is used in conjunction with the young farmer top-up of direct payments under Pillar I – Member States and regions must provide the RDP start-up support necessary to get young people on to farms and then provide them with additional income support in their first, and most vulnerable, years of business to ensure they stay afloat in the sector in order to secure European food production for years to come.

Background information:

On 11 December 2015, Commissioner Hogan announced the adoption of Greece’s Rural Development Programme (RDP), marking the last RDP out of 118 programmes to be adopted for the 2014-2020 period!

With €99.6 billion from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and another €60.6 billion of co-funding from national and regional public funds or private investment, the RDPs will aid European rural areas and communities so that they may face the current economic, environmental and social challenges and also take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead of them.

Rural regions represent 52% of the EU territory and have a population of 112.1 million people. However, significantly the RDPs will make available business start up aid for 170 000 young farmers! Additionally, 3.9 million places in training courses will be provided along with 1.4 million instances of personalized advice provided to farmers and other rural entrepreneurs in order to help improve the performance of their business. Furthermore, 2016 will see an impact review of the CAP programming period of 2007-2013 including a review on the efficacy of the installation aid measure for young farmers under rural development.

Useful links:

Commission press release

Overview of the 118 RDPs and links to their individual fact sheets

The new CAP ‘Investing in Rural Europe’ fact sheet