A ceremony in Zagreb was held as the commencement of an important project that will enable the Paying Agency in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development to conduct a reform in European agriculture and fisheries policy.
EU legislation in all areas of the Croatian agricultural policy
Through its accession to the EU, Croatia adopted the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union (CAP EU) that has replaced the previous national agricultural subsidies. Thus, on 1 July 2013, Croatia adopted the EU legislation for all agricultural policy areas, from production standards, production support and regulation measures for agricultural markets to rural development measures.
In Croatia, as in all EU Member States, funds are operated by the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development (PAAFRD) that, based on specific criteria, launched the Integrated Administration and Control System (IAKS) that enables all of the Member States to receive, process and control direct payment to farmers.
The establishment of the system was a precondition for concluding accession negotiations with the EU, and the Paying Agency for Agriculture information system was largely funded by the EU through the PHARE, CARDS and IPA projects – the sum amounts to HRK 126 million.
The next challenge: The Common Agricultural Policy reform and the adjustment of the Paying Agency system
After a widespread EU Common Agricultural Policy reform for the 2014 – 2020 period, the Paying Agency had to conduct several different adjustments to the information system. The reform includes the implementation of new rural development measures and numerous new measures with regard to direct payment to farmers (greening, Young Farmers Scheme, reducing of payment to large farms, the abolition of the quota scheme, etc.).
In order for the Agency to initiate the implementation of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy as well as the EU Common Fishery Policy and to be able to pay the fund money, which is its basic function, it requires an adaptation of the Agency's information system, which is the aim of the initiated technical assistance IPA project.
The accomplishments of the first project
The KING ICT company, together with the Ekotoxa and Sinergise companies, was a member of the consortium that carried out an IPA 2007 technical assistance project called “Capacity Building of the Croatian Paying Agency” financed by the EU. The KING ICT company, together with foreign and Croatian partners, implemented the system for the allocation, monitoring and control over payments to farmers and trained over 600 Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Rural Development employees on the use of the system.
An informative campaign for farmers on the Common Agricultural Policy was carried out as part of the project, and the Paying Agency was awarded second prize by the European Commission in the category of Communication with the Public at the CAP Communication Awards, competing amongst 118 projects.