The latest Covid-19 recovery plan framed by the European Council (EC) has considered an 8 year period as the time needed for recovery from the devastations of the pandemic situation. And while a huge part of this recovery plan and funds is dedicated to the agro-industry, policymakers and agriculturists are not yet sure whether it is enough.
There are two primary components of this recovery plan that tends to the agro-industry. The first part deals with the rural sector, whereby funds will be provided to ensure that this sector can meet the sustainable development goals and the Green Deal. A total of €15 billion has been sanctioned for this purpose.
The second segment pertaining to the agro-industry consists of relief for agri-food sectors. The total amount of relief is €4 billion and the primary purpose is to support crisis management plans.
While on one hand, these funds are enough to help the European agro-industry get back on its feet, if not used properly the effects of it may be lacking.
So, the team at Kelly Engineering have devised the potential best means of the usage of these funds for the policymakers of the agro-industry. Find them in detail below.
The rural sector
There is much talk about the CAP reforms in the rural sector. And considering the amount of importance the government is giving to these reforms, it is likely that relief efforts will not take place until the CAP reforms have taken place. But this will severely hinder the rural agro-industry.
The primary need for relief is immediate, and the period between 2021 – 2024 is crucial in ensuring that the industry can go back to its normal state. So, the relief funds should be deployed immediately as early as 2021.
When it comes to investing the funds into the agro-industry, it is imperative to choose the right aspects to develop. While the government considers much of the investments to work towards reducing the carbon footprint of the farms, the necessity to improve the overall economic conditions of the rural farmers is more than ever.
Both these goals can be met through investing in smart farming technology and making such tools accessible to rural farmers. Keeping the economic condition of these farmers in mind, the co-financing rates of these funds should be reduced as well.
In terms of the overall industry, crisis management requirements are acute. The funds allocated for this purpose should be used to develop insurance help for the farmers especially for climate and income insurance. This will allow for both the environmental development of the agro-industry while the farmers will be allowed to carry on their trade with renewed vigour.
Particular agri-food sectors that have been the hardest hit need to be outlined and provided the crisis management funds to. These include wine, beef, and many other sectors. The €4 billion that has been dedicated to crisis management will only be able to secure its goals if used in a highly motivated manner.
While it may seem that Europe overall has been able to fend off the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the agro-industry was primarily behind this process and now its resources are quite depleted. The recovery plan by the EC is enough to meet the needs of the industry, but it is the process and not merely the amount of funds that will decide how quickly the industry can start functioning at previous standards.
Let us hope that the policymakers will take note of the need for smart management of the funds, and the industry will be benefitted accordingly.