The Croatian Agriculture Ministry on Monday unveiled its new system intended to more closely monitor how farmers spend approved farming subsidies without yet detailing the method or how frequent monitoring will be.
The system would use a colour-coded rating system, similar to the one used by traffic lights, according to the ministry’s press release, carried by the state news platform Hina.
Green would be attributed to adequately farmed areas, yellow would go to those areas that would require “additional cooperation” from the farmer responsible for the subsidy, and red would go to areas where no farming activity was detected.
To check the status of subsidised areas, the press release mentions the use of photographs and in-person inspections.
The new system would also be used regularly, allowing the authorities to intervene if subsidies are not correctly used. The announcement should not worry “anyone [actually] doing farming”, while others would be warned “in time”, ministry officials warned.
“They will have the chance to confirm or rescind their subsidy requests by 15 October,” the head of the government’s agency for managing subsidy payments APPRRR, Antun Vujic, was quoted as saying.
“This will help avoid numerous conflicts with farmers because there are cases that later end up in court,” he added without specifying the total value of misused subsidies to date.
In a separate announcement, the ministry said that this year’s subsidies available to farmers would total €490.6 million, inviting them to fill out applications by 15 May. Once their subsidy application is approved, farmers have five months to prove the funds are properly being used.
(David Spaic-Kovacic | EURACTIV.com)