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Fruit and veg growers to be eligible for Single Payment
Fruit and vegetable producers in Wales will, from May 2010, be eligible to apply for Single Payment Scheme (SPS) entitlement for the first time. The move was announced by Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones yesterday.
Significant reform to the Common Agriculture Policy fruit and vegetable regime was agreed in 2007. A key element was to create the opportunity for fruit and vegetable producers to receive direct payments under the CAP. Potential claimants will need to satisfy eligibility requirements as well as meeting the CAP cross compliance standards including keeping land in good environmental and agricultural condition.
The Minister explained that opening up SPS entitlement to fruit and vegetable producers would reinforce the Welsh Assembly Government’s One Wales commitment to significantly increase local food procurement.
Elin Jones said:
The direct payments to fruit and vegetable producers will at the average level per hectare of the SPS in Wales and will be based on production hectarage in 2007. The projected entitlement value is €249 per hectare but is subject to change in the light of further work. Applications would need to be lodged in May 2010 with payments due from the following December. In due course the Welsh Assembly Government will release operational details of the scheme and will be contacting potential claimants.
The position on fruit and vegetables brings the regime into line with other reforms to the CAP. Providing a basis for our horticulture producers to claim under the SPS is a logical extension to the SPS that was implemented in Wales in 2005.
I have said several times over the past year that our schoolchildren cannot live on lamb alone. Our hospitals and schools need to offer a varied range of food and if Government does its part to increase local food procurement, then there needs to be a wider variety of food produced on local farms.
Environment and Countryside
Farming and Countryside