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€ 50,000 for rural return

21 September 2014 / 14:09:48  GRReporter
2224 reads

The Greek government began to implement a programme to support young people who want to return to the countryside to engage in farming and stockbreeding.

The EU National Portfolio funding provides special support measures for young farmers, amounting to €400 million. Within six years 18,000 young people will receive up to € 50,000 for new business ventures in the countryside, of which 16,000 people will receive a total of € 300 million to become farmers and 2,000 new companies, so-called "start-ups", that choose to engage in agriculture and food, will receive €100 million.

The new national plan for a unified agricultural policy that divides the country into three zones, adjusts the value of the individual rights of Greek producers, and ensured a very favourable regime for young farmers in direct aid.

In particular, it is envisaged that young farmers under 40 receive 25% higher grants than other farmers, amounting to € 50 million per year, i.e. 2% of the funds. A new maximum cap on subsidies and a redistributive premium of about € 50 million a year will enter into force by 2020 for those young people who want to go into farming.

Young farmers eligible for aid will have to fulfil their business plan obligations within five years from the approval of the aid.

The € 50,000 assistance will be given in three capital contributions. The first will amount to 70% of the approved amount of aid. The remaining 30% will be transferred in compliance with the fulfilment of the business plan.

Individuals who are permanent residents of Greece will be eligible, who were registered as farmers for the first time in the last 14 months prior to applying, and who satisfy the following conditions:

• they possess skills or commit to acquire such within 36 months of approval.

• they submit a business plan with a maximum duration of 5 years with specific goals and interim deadlines for the development of agricultural activities.

The programmer who was won by land

39-year old Panagiotis Paganis is from Gargalianoi, Messinia and studied programming. Upon completion of his studies he returned to agriculture. "My family had a small farm with vineyards and olive trees and, without much thinking, I decided to become a farmer", he says for the Ethnos newspaper, stating that he never regretted, despite the difficulties.

He expanded the arable land significantly increasing production. Both, grapes and olive oil are in demand from cooperatives in the area. According to Paganis, recently manufacturers have been trying to create a group in order to standardize products.

In his opinion, the big problem faced by all manufacturers is the increased cost of production. He complains that the difference between the prices of products at their exit from the field and at their sale in stores is huge. According to Paganis however, the crisis has not affected agriculture that much, because there will always be a need for food. And this is the factor that attracts more and more young people to engage in agriculture.

Agriculture is becoming a magnet

More and more young Greeks leave big cities and return to a rural environment to engage in farming and stockbreeding. The agricultural sector now covers 11% of the active population, and there is a rising trend.

There is interest is both, agriculture and stockbreeding, but also in other industries such as beekeeping. Over 25% of applications for aid come from Central Macedonia, 14% from Crete, 11% from Western Greece and Eastern Macedonia - Thrace, followed by Thessaly and the Peloponnese.

8,000 requests worth about € 140 million are expected to be approved according to the Secretary of European Funds at the Ministry of Agriculture Dimitrios Iatridis.

39-year-old Vaso Papadopoulou from Prespes is also attracted to the new programme. She is engaged in the cultivation of legumes and stockbreeding. Although she had studied to be a nurse in Thessaloniki, together with her husband she returns to Prespes and they choose to engage in agriculture growing Prespa beans. They have been dealing with livestock for three years, raising Prespa Shorthorn cattle.

According to her without subsidies it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a small farm to get on its feet, at the prices received by farmers for their products. Like many others, she also took out loans to purchase machinery. In her opinion what is positive is that with the new programme she will be among those who will benefit from the changes. Legumes come for the first time in the list of subsidies and this will help them a lot. Subsidies for stockbreeding have also been increased, as compared to the past.

Tags: agriculture stockbreeding young people subsidies European programs
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