Revision of expenditure in agriculture revealed shortcomings

Topical issue

Revision of expenditure in agriculture revealed shortcomings

12. 07. 2019 14:08

If Slovak agriculture wants to achieve better results, it should adopt land consolidation measures and introduce risk management tools or the better use of financial instruments. This stems from the final report of the revision of expenditure on agriculture, carried out by analysts of the Institute of Agricultural Policy (IPP) and those of the Finance Ministry's analytical unit. Slovakia gives 1.2 percent of GDP to agriculture and regional development, which represents €1.1 billion." The increase in resources should go hand in hand with improving its performance, especially productivity, which is lagging behind in international comparison. This is due to the focus on low value-added monocultures instead of fruit and vegetables or livestock production," reads the report.

Analysts criticized the fact that most of the aid is granted to farmers in the form of direct payments separate from production, which have a minimal impact on the growth of agricultural production. "Agricultural production has therefore been stagnating for a long time and its structure is deteriorating. In Slovakia, there is also the biggest concentration of direct payments across the EU. A fifth of the largest farms receive up to 94% of direct payments. Therefore, in the new programming period of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, Slovakia should put an emphasis on an effective rural development program that allows for the financing of specific priority objectives," the analysts added.

"Increasing the co-financing of the Rural Development Program from the state budget in comparison with the current programming period is a systemic step and it is also in accordance with the proposal for a new Common Agricultural Policy, presented by the European Commission," said Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná in reaction to the report. She did not comment, however, on the finding that the Agriculture Ministry and its subordinate organizations are characterized by a high level of employment. "The revision shows that by optimizing support and cross-cutting activities and purchasing services, the ministry and its subordinate organizations could save up to € 4.6 million per year," concluded the report.

Anca Dragu, Photo: TASR

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