Coronavirus: Commission adopts additional measures to support the agri-food sector

Today, the European Commission adopted two measures to help the agri-food sector. The measures will increase the cash flow of farmers and reduce the administrative burden both for national and regional authorities and for farmers in these particularly challenging times. To increase the cash flow of farmers, the Commission will increase the advances of direct payments (from 50% to 70%) and rural development payments (from 75% to 85%). Farmers will start receiving these advances from mid-October. For additional flexibility, Member States will be able to pay farmers before finalising all on-the-spot checks. The second measure adopted today reduces the number of physical on-the-spot eligibility checks for the prevailing part of the CAP budget from 5% to 3%. In the current exceptional circumstances, it is crucial to minimise physical contact between farmers and the inspectors. The Commission also provides flexibilities in terms of the timing of the checks.Member States will be able to use alternative sources of information to replace the traditional on-farm visits (e.g. satellite images or geo-tagged photos to prove that investments took place). This will allow for the most efficient use of resources, respect of the confinement rules and will reduce the administrative burden and avoid unnecessary delays in processing aid applications to ensure that support is paid to farmers in the shortest possible timeframe. More information about today’s measures and earlier Commission support to the farming sector related to the current health crisis is available online.