After the social shield, the Iberian exception, the decrees for the war in Ukraine and the VAT reduction, from Moncloa coordinate technicians from four ministries (Agriculture, Finance, Social Security and Ecological Transition) to develop a new package of measures to combat drought. A version 2.0, little more than a year after the previous one, with a much more complex fit before the difficult situation in the Spanish countryside.
Since the beginning of this hydrological year (October 1, 2022) the average value of accumulated rainfall is already 23.5% lower to normal value. This threatens to reduce crops as relevant as cereals, wine, olive oil, and can even affect livestock. In addition, the calendar does not make it easy at all: In addition to the urgency of the situation, the fact that the election campaign, for the municipal and regional elections of 28-M, will begin on May 12. This conditions everything.
But, what will the anti-drought decree consist of? The sources consulted by La Información point in two directions: The “flexibility” of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) together with the mobilization of more resources (reserves, unexecuted funds, etc…) and, above all, the application of a series mainly economic and fiscal measures.
Specifically, the sources consulted point out, the future package may include from exemptions in the payment of Social Security contributions of the workers of agricultural and livestock farms (already included in the anti-drought decree of 2022) going through direct aid And till subsidized loans through organizations such as the State Public Limited Company for Agrarian Surety (SAECA).
The future ‘anti-drought decree’ may include from exemptions in the payment of Social Security contributions to direct aid and subsidized loans
Regarding the aforementioned “flexibility” of the CAP, the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, has already requested by letter to the branch commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski to allow Spain greater room for maneuver in aspects such as ecoregimes(the ‘voluntary’ green practices on which 25% of the subsidies depend), the entry into force of the digital exploitation notebook and the associated aid. Last year’s precedent regarding the planting of sunflowers and maize on fallow land raises hopes that Brussels will not throw too many buts. In any case, next Tuesday, the European agriculture ministers meet in Luxembourg. Despite the fact that a large part of the agenda is taken over by Ukrainian grain, there is a point on the agenda on the implementation of the strategic plans of the CAP. In other words, they will discuss the roadmap for each country.
How to adapt PAC aid to the drought
After the meeting of the Drought Table (in which all the actors involved were present, including farmers and irrigators), now it is time to mature the document of measures and this is synonymous with technical meetings during the next week. Specifically, as this medium has learned, next Thursday, April 27, one of them will be held with representatives of the agrarian organizations in the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (FEGA), the body that manages PAC aid in Spain. It will address how to adapt them to the serious situation of drought. For this, they have requested proposals and suggestions from Asaja, UPA, COAG and Agri-food Cooperatives.
In any case, the sources consulted maintain that the logical thing is that the document be presented to the main agrarian unions before being approved by the Council of Ministers and, in this way, they can give their point of view on it. And even, provide some extra proposal or nuance. Regarding the legal form, the interlocutors of this medium, bet on the formula of the rthe decree law, although there is also the possibility that there may be several ‘deliveries’ or that some norm or decree already planned is taken advantage of to enrich them with anti-drought measures.