“I think that nothing will change radically, although the new Strategic Plan brings innovations and we have no doubt that the next year will be a year of confusion. That’s why we meet with farmers, explain what awaits them”, explains Egidijus Giedraitis, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and assures that eco-schemes are emerging that will replace the previous greening, which also caused tensions. Ecosystems, however, are much more complex and will take time for people to understand.
E. Giedraitis, says that such requirements as non-production or landscape elements, which will have to occupy up to 4 percent. areas, the ban on backlogs is common to the entire EU. Modern farms will have no problems here, but small ones may find it difficult to adapt. It is the ambition of the entire EU to double the number of organic farms.
The vice-minister also explains where the confusion will arise: “There are twice as many requirements for a good agricultural condition than until now. Due to the war in Ukraine, some of them have been postponed and there will be time to get used to it. However, it is not allowed to make exceptions for eco-schemes. It will be possible to choose them voluntarily, and those who choose them will have to comply with the requirements from 2023.”
Raimundas Juknevičius, chairman of the Lithuanian Farmers’ Union, says that the Strategic Plan itself was created more than three years ago, when there was an optimistic view of the growing economy and consumption. Now everyone understands that they will have to use the EC procedure so that it can be repaired several times.
“Now we need to focus on how to get this plan off the ground and create rules that will be created equally by farmers and regulatory authorities alike.” Another nuance – before the start of the declaration, everyone must have at least heard what eco-schemes are and whether it is worth choosing them. Their essence is activities that benefit the environment and the landscape. This means that in order to get the same income as before, people will have to do much more work than before. Bearing in mind that they declare 120 thousand farmers, the risk of upheaval is programmed.”
Alfredas Bardauskas, a farmer, says that the new system is clumsy and cannot become simple and this is programmed in the Strategic Plan itself.
“There will be confusion. We see how difficult it is to declare crops now and that not all specialists in the municipalities are experienced. This year they will have twice as much work and they still don’t know what they will have to do. Besides, there are no rules yet and people don’t know what they can get and how. There is still a lot of work to do, and spring will come very soon”, adds A. Bardauskas and says that those who declare themselves will have to do much more homework – to count homesteads, stones, protective zones. This work is several times more complicated than it was until now.
“There will be another confusion in the late autumn, when people will see how much money will be transferred for the areas. If until now the direct payments per hectare were about 140 euros, now for a person who does not participate in the eco-schemes, it will be about 80”, the farmer explains the differences and says that he himself will try to participate in as many different opportunities as possible, but he already guesses that the payments will be with all the eco-schemes smaller than before. In addition, according to unofficial data, 40 percent farmers will not choose eco-schemes and will settle for reduced direct payments.
R. Juknevčius notices that larger and professional farmers already simply apply various environmental and nature-preserving measures and will simply receive money for what they are already doing. Small farmers who farm with “ancient” methods will lose part of their income.
A. Bardauskas notices that now a strange situation has arisen – agriculture has been moving forward for 30 years, but now politicians want to protect farmers faster, although neither the government nor the farmers themselves are ready for this.
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