ECO-SCHEMES IN CROATIA

The Strategic Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy of the Republic of Croatia 2023-2027, for the first time, enables the provision of support for eco-schemes as one-year climate and environmental interventions within direct payments. Although green payments are being phased out starting from 2023, eco-schemes do not directly replace them because green payments were mandatory for direct payment beneficiaries, while obligations for implementing eco-schemes are voluntarily undertaken by the beneficiaries. Eco-schemes are named as such due to their connection with specific climate and environmental objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy, rather than a direct link to organic production. According to the Strategic Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy, support is granted in the form of:

  • Additional payments based on basic income support (Intensified diversity of agricultural land, Intensified maintenance of ecologically significant areas).
  • Compensation for additional costs and income losses resulting from assumed obligations, determined through calculations by independent experts (Extensive pasture management, Use of manure on arable land, A minimum share of legumes of 20% within agricultural areas, Conservation agriculture, Preservation of grasslands of great natural value).

Eligible beneficiaries are active farmers registered in the Farmer Register who utilize agricultural land recorded in the ARKOD system. The eligible area for implementing interventions is 1 hectare.

Other basic conditions include:

For all eco-schemes: fulfillment of minimum requirements for receiving direct support, timely submission of a single application, and other prescribed accompanying documentation.

For eco-schemes that provide additional payments based on basic income support (Intensified diversity of agricultural land, Intensified maintenance of ecologically significant areas), beneficiaries, in addition to the mentioned conditions, should have been allocated payment entitlements.

Eco-schemes from the Strategic plan are presented and described: 

31.01. Intensified diversity of agricultural land

31.02. Extensive pasture management

31.03. Intensified maintenance of ecologically  significant areas

31.04. Use of manure on arable land

31.05. A minimum share of legumes of 20% within agricultural areas

31.06. Conservation agriculture

31.07. Preservation of grasslands of great natural value


Intensive diversity of agricultural land is an intervention within the framework of non-production-related direct payments, which is paid as additional compensation based on basic income support. It represents an expanded form of the green practice of crop diversity, which was previously applied only to arable land. With the aim of achieving greater overall diversity of agricultural surfaces, which makes a significant contribution to climate objectives, landscape mosaic, and biodiversity conservation, the intervention is implemented across all types of agricultural land use.

Extensive pasture management is an intervention within the framework of non-production-related direct payments, which is paid as compensation for additional costs and income losses resulting from assumed obligations. Maintaining pastures through grazing contributes to the preservation of distinctive landscapes, the conservation of pasture vegetation, characteristic plant and animal species, and valuable habitats. Grazing animals on pastures over an extended period also contributes to animal welfare.

Intensive maintenance of ecologically significant areas is an intervention within the framework of non-production-related direct payments, which is paid as additional compensation based on basic income support. The intervention represents a modification of the green practice of ecologically significant areas. It is implemented at the farm level, on a minimum of 10% of the total agricultural area of the farm, where ecologically significant areas are maintained. The intervention contributes to biodiversity protection, habitat preservation, and landscape mosaic while providing additional improvements to agricultural ecosystem services.

The use of farmyard manure on arable land is an intervention within the framework of non-production-related direct payments, which is paid as compensation for additional costs and income losses resulting from assumed obligations. The intervention aims to increase organic matter content by reducing the use of synthetic mineral fertilizers, thereby improving the physical and chemical properties of the soil. Reducing the use of mineral fertilizers significantly contributes to energy savings required for their production and reduces soil, air, and water pollution. The intervention is implemented on arable land registered in the ARKOD system. Solid and/or liquid farmyard manure from one's own farm and/or purchased from livestock farms can be used for the intervention.

The minimum share of legumes of 20% within agricultural areas is an intervention within the framework of non-production-related direct payments, which is paid as compensation for additional costs and income losses resulting from assumed obligations. The intervention is implemented on arable land registered in the ARKOD system. The intervention includes the cultivation of grain and/or forage legumes as main crops and/or cover crops, with a minimum share of 20% of the declared arable land.

Conservation agriculture is an intervention within non-production-related direct payments, which is paid as compensation for additional costs and income losses resulting from assumed obligations. The intervention is implemented on arable land registered in the ARKOD system. Conservation agriculture represents a modern concept of crop production aimed at achieving high and sustainable levels of production while preserving natural resources and achieving acceptable profits. It is based on three interconnected principles: minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover with plants or crop residues, and proper crop rotation.

Preservation of high nature value grasslands is an intervention within the framework of non-production-related direct payments, which is paid as compensation for additional costs and income losses resulting from assumed obligations.

CAPTIVATE project, funded under the Erasmus + program of the European Union, is dedicated to knowledge transfer and vocational training of farmers and agricultural advisors related to the current EU strategic lines, such as the Green Deal, Farm to Fork Strategy and Organic Action Plan. One of the CAPTIVATE’s main objectives is that farmers better understand conditionality, eco-scheme and rural development regulations, they choose and participate in the certain schemes with more responsibility and awareness, carrying out the new CAP measures more effectively.

 

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Grant programme: Erasmus+ programme (KA220-VET - Cooperation partnerships in vocational education and training)

Project interval: 1 November 2021 / 31 October 2024
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