The European Commission has offered this Friday to the Member States the possibility of granting a single payment to farmers and agri-food companies most affected by the increase in the prices of inputs by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), as an exceptional measure to ensure food security despite market disturbances.

Farmers will be eligible for aid of up to 15,000 euros and SMEs to a payment of up to 100,000 euros, and in any case disbursed before October 15, 2023, according to the proposal of the Community Executive still pending negotiation between the Council and European Parliament.

Brussels has explained its proposal as a response to the increase in prices, especially those of energy, fertilizers and feed, which harm the agricultural sector and rural communities due to the lack of liquidity and cash flow of producers and small businesses in all the links in the chain.

If the measure receives the necessary approval of the Twenty-seven and the European Parliament to be effective, Brussels estimates that it will allow Member States to use up to 5% of their EAFRD budget for 2021-2022 in direct support for the income of the farmers and SMEs active in the processing, marketing or development of agricultural products.

The aid should be directed to those most affected by the current crisis and who are dedicated to the circular economy, nutrient management, the efficient use of resources or production methods that respect the environment and the climate.

In order to make use of this exceptional possibility, the Member States will have to present an amendment to their rural development programs introducing this new measure.