The European Commission approved the CAP Strategic Plans of Estonia and Latvia. The new common agricultural policy (CAP), set to start on 1 January 2023, is designed to shape the transition to a sustainable, resilient, and modern European agricultural sector. Under the reformed policy, funding will be more fairly distributed among farms, with an emphasis on small- and medium-sized farms, as well as young farmers. Moreover, farmers will be supported to take up innovation, from precision farming to agro-ecological production methods. By supporting concrete actions in these and other areas, the new CAP can be the cornerstone for food security and farming communities in the European Union.
The new CAP incorporates a more efficient and effective way of working. EU countries will implement national CAP Strategic Plans, combining funding for income support, rural development, and market measures. In designing its CAP Strategic Plan, each Member State chose from a wide range of interventions at the EU level, tailoring and targeting them to address their specific needs and local conditions. The Commission has been assessing whether each Plan is aimed towards the ten key CAP objectives, which touch upon shared environmental, social, and economic challenges. The Plans need to be in line with EU legislation and should also contribute to the EU's climate and environmental goals, as set out in the Commission's Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
The CAP will benefit from €270 billion in EU funding for the 2023-27 period. The two Plans approved today represent a budget of €3.8 billion, including €1.1 billion dedicated to environmental and climate objectives and eco-schemes and €88 million for young farmers.
Estonia will earmark about 45% of its CAP Plan's total funding to help stabilize the income of farmers and rural businesses. Small- and medium-sized farms will also benefit from higher income support. Regarding its environmental priorities, the Estonian Plan will use around €456 million of its total CAP budget to support environmental and climate objectives, focusing on carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and valuable grasslands, as well as increasing knowledge about sustainable production. More than 23% of the agricultural land will receive support for practicing organic farming. Finally, Estonia expects to create 1250 new rural jobs through CAP-supported projects. Specific aid will also be given to young farmers to address depopulation and aging in rural areas and in the agricultural sector.
Latvia will earmark around 14% of its direct payments budget for coupled income support to support sectors undergoing difficulties. The dairy, bovine, cereals and oilseeds, and fruit and vegetable sectors will benefit from it. Latvia also introduced capping of the aid received by farms above a certain size, and small- and medium-sized farms will receive a redistributive payment. Latvia's Plan sets high targets for environmental and climate actions. Focus will be put on climate change mitigation, pollution reduction, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable forestry. For example, over 70% of the utilized agricultural area will benefit from practices protecting and improving soil quality. By 2027, 18.8% of Latvia's agricultural land will be cultivated organically. Latvia has prioritized the improvement of its knowledge and innovation system in the agricultural sector, with 23 000 persons receiving advice and training supported by the CAP.
More information on each Plan here.
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