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Spain: 32% of Valencian growers to stop receiving CAP aid in 2 years

The Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-Asaja) has denounced that around 26,000 producers in the Region of Valencia will no longer receive direct aid under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) due to the entry into force of the new distribution criteria approved in the framework of the reform of the CAP for the period 2014-2020. This entails that around 32% of Valencian growers, who were so far entitled to receive these subsidies, will no longer get them within the period between 2016 and 2017.

These new guidelines imposed by Brussels, whose specific design, in the case of Spain, was carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture with support from the autonomous regions, establish a formula which, based on concepts such as decoupling and historical rights, implies in practice that the amount of aid a grower receives must reach a certain minimum for the right to maintain receiving it over time. These minimum amounts on direct payments were set at 100 Euro for 2015, 200 for 2016 and 300 Euro for 2017.

The consequence is that, next year, many Valencian growers will start losing the right to receive the aid, and this process will culminate in 2017 with an appalling 32% of producers in Valencia no longer receiving the so-called basic pay subsidies. In practice, this will translate into more than 4 million Euro less going to Valencian producers.

In this regard, the president of AVA-Asaja, Cristóbal Aguado, stated that "our most pessimistic predictions about the negative impact of the CAP are becoming a reality. Mediterranean crops were already sufficiently marginalised, and with this new criteria, thousands of Valencian producers of citrus, olives, almonds, oil or cereals will be excluded from receiving aid next year. This is a real nonsense that does nothing but confirm what we have always denounced, which is that policies in Brussels are light years away from the needs of Mediterranean agriculture and serve to resolve none of the serious difficulties it aims to tackle. We feel cheated and deceived."

But this is not the only CAP-related bad news for Valencian agriculture. After a meeting between agricultural organizations and the Ministry of Agriculture, it was revealed that the Government of Valencia may not advance the payment of direct CAP subsidies this year, as it has been doing in previous campaigns. The reason is the chaos caused by the processing of applications because of the continuous problems encountered with the Sinapa software, provided to the regions by the FEGA, the Paying Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The impact of the system crashes and slowness was of such magnitude that the deadline for the processing of aid in Valencia had to be extended until 15 June, when it is customary for it to be set around 30 April. This delay has in turn delayed the mandatory checks on the records, so in Valencia, unlike in other regions which refused to continue using the Sinapa software, given all the problems it caused, these will not be advanced to October, but will have to wait until December.

The president of AVA-Asaja is bitterly disappointed with "the chaotic management in the processing of these grants, more typical of third world countries. We were told the CAP would bring greater simplicity and, in the end, the only thing that the new CAP has brought has been more complications and more bureaucracy. Mediterranean agriculture is barely getting any of Brussels' funds and the little that reaches us arrives late and inefficiently."

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