Over 80 pc of agricultural plots, at the limit of nitrate concentration

The European funds for agriculture could be circulated through banks that will co-finance projects, Nicolae Popa, general deputy director of the Agency for Payments for Rural Development and Fisheries, stated.

Dorel Benu, the general director of the Agency for Payments and Intervention in Agriculture (APIA), stated on Saturday in Reghin at a conference on the 2014-2020 budget framework that 80 per cent of the Romanian agricultural plots are at the limit of nitrate concentrations, warning the more than one hundred farmers present at the conference to take care in what concerns soil fertilization, Mediafax informs. According to the head of APIA, farmers should be aware that in certain periods of the year they should not spread chemical fertilizers on the fields, namely during spring, when the snow melts or when there are abundant rainfalls.
Benu stated that the latest control took place last week at two very large farms “that know how to manage such problems” and that had a fertilization plan, the results of the control being good. “However there are farmers that own 1 to 15 hectares and whom we have to inform from now on. We are at the limit, the upper limit. But that’s the case throughout Europe,” Benu said. He pointed out that the checking up of plots in what concerns “the impact of nitrates and nitrites” is a measure imposed throughout Europe since “agriculture was accused of being a polluter.” On the other hand, the head of APIA also said that there are no risks because of the soil’s high nitrate concentration, nor is there “a danger of pollution.”
During the same conference, Nicolae Popa, the deputy general director of the Agency for Payments for Rural Development and Fishing, stated that the future European funds for agriculture, standing at approximately EUR 21 bln, could be circulated through the banks that will agree to offer money in order to co-finance the projects. During the current budget exercise the banks had requirements that were so restrictive that the farmers were unable “to get near” the credits for co-financing European projects.
He added that “things should be set right,” so that the Agriculture Minister had meetings with the representatives of several banks, offering them the possibility of circulating all future European funds for agriculture, on condition they offer credits with advantageous requirements for the co-financing of projects. “I am thinking that the interest is common. They have to get the credits rolling and by doing that they also register profit,” Popa said. He also underlined that 1,750 European projects for agriculture, worth EUR 450 M, have already been canceled because the beneficiaries could not obtain the co-financing, but there are also others facing the same risk.
Farmers have 30 days left to set up mutual fund
On the other hand, Nicolae Popa also added that “against the backdrop of the total lack of legislation in what concerns ensuring agricultural risks” a law was drafted on the setting up of mutual funds, and the farmers still have 30 days at their disposal to become members of such associations. The farmers who are members of these mutual funds will contribute 35 per cent of the sums needed in order to insure against drought, flooding and frost damages, the remaining 65 per cent set to come from the EU.

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