“The proper management of our natural resources is our strategic responsibility”, Deputy State Secretary for Agricultural Economy Zsolt Feldman said in his presentation at the Budapest conference of the Multifunctional Countryside series.
The objectives set down in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) include viable food production and through it the improvement of agricultural incomes and the sector’s competitiveness, the sustainable management of natural resources, which includes compensation and promotion of the public assets produced by agriculture, and balanced territorial development, which means the maintenance of rural communities and rural jobs. The elements of the CAP’s green component combine the principles of environmentally sustainable yet competitive farming, the Deputy State Secretary said.
Farmers – with the exception of small farms – will be able to access 30 percent of direct European Union funding received by Hungary for the period 2014-2020 if they conform to certain conditions related to environmentally sustainability, which compulsory requirements we collectively call greening. Accordingly, it is in Hungary’s interests for as many farmers as possible to have access to and draw down the funding element related to greening available from EU funds for the period 2014-2020, according to realistic conditions.
Zsolt Feldman stressed that during the course of negotiations related to the CAP, the standpoint clearly represented by the Hungarian Government is that the application of the green component should not restrict competitiveness and that farmers should be able to access available EU funding as simply as possible.
According to the Council position that Hungary has also adopted, an important condition will be that farmers with arable land in excess of 10 hectares will be required to cultivate two crops, while those with over 30 hectares will need to cultivate 3 types of crop, in the spirit of diversification. This is a significant step forward compared to the stricter regulations originally put forward by the European Commission, the Deputy State Secretary added. Conforming to the nationally required ratio of grassland is not expected to cause problems for farmers, while when establishing ecological target areas farmers will initially have to designate 5 percent of arable land per agricultural unit for this purpose, and later 7 percent. According to the proposals developed during negotiations, protein plant production areas and plantations, forestry areas and ancient Kumanian burial mounds (landscape elements) may also be included in the areas designated for ecological purposes.
The payment of extra funding related to greening encourages farmers to take sustainability criteria into consideration during agricultural production, thus preserving the environment in a suitable state for the future.
Zsolt Feldman stressed that nobody disputes the raison d’être of greening; differences between the various member states only arise with regard to the details, the reason for which clearly lies in their differing ecological capabilities and production structure. A final solution to CAP reform may be achieved in June, and the elaboration of detailed regulations is expected in the autumn.
(Source – http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-rural-development/news/introduction-of-the-green-component-facilitates-sustainable-agriculture )