Webinar entitled “Twinning Work for Improving Effectiveness and Efficency of Subsidy Policy” took place on 3 March 2022. The training was held in the video conference mode via Zoom platform.
The trainers included experts from Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Italy - Mr. Danilo Marandola, Ms. Beatrice Camaioni, Ms. Annalisa Zezza and Mr. Fabio Pierangeli.
“Alternative options for planting/sowing subsidies: the Small Farms Scheme (SFS) and Single Payment Scheme (SPS”) were presented by Ms. Annalisa Zezza. In her presentation, Ms. Annalisa Zezza proposed the Azerbaijani side to increase sustainable productivity, through enhanced natural resource management, develop rural value chains via delivering quality products, exploiting the export potential, reduce the administrative burden of delivering agricultural support and comply with future WTO rules in order to enhance agricultural exports. The proposed new subsidy system for arable crops included Small Farmer Scheme (SFS) and Single Payment Scheme (SPS). SFS covers Micro or Small Farms from 0 to 2 hectares with unique payment of 220 AZN/ha, while SPS is for farms bigger than 2 hectares with unique payment of 240 AZN/ha. The subsidy system proposed (SFS/SPS) represent an incentive for land consolidation, which could be also encouraged by a specific single premium, the Voluntary Land Consolidation Premium.
The next speaker, Mr. Danilo Marandola presented “Basic requirements for protecting soil and water to be linked with planting/sowing subsidies”. In his presentation, Mr. Marandola stated that the reform of area-based subsidies suggested by Twinning in Azerbaijan includes the possibility to introduce, for the recipients of the planting/sowing subsidies, one or more environmental commitments (requirements or top-up payments) related to soil and/or water protection. The concept is that area-based subsidies cannot provide only income support to farmers, but should also contain basic principles of agricultural policy, aiming for instance at targeting UN environmental sustainability goals and 2030 Azerbaijani goals.
The set of proposed measures included:
Measure 1- Ban on burning arable stubbles
Measure 2 - Mandatory minimum distance for the use of fertilizers and pesticides along watercourses and near springs
Measure 3 - Reinforced buffer strips along watercourses which have specific pollutions problems
Measure 4 - Actions to contrast soil erosion in sloping arable land
Measure 5 - Green cover in fruit orchards
Measure 6 - Ecological crops in fruit orchards.
In his presentation, Mr. Fabio Pierangeli suggested measures for Livestock support. The proposal covered four sub-areas of Livestock sector, i.e. sheep, cattle, buffalo and beekeeping sectors. A proposed “standard raising” model for the livestock sector in Azerbaijan mechanism with a period of 3 years included annual coupled support per head owned by the farmer. The eligibility conditions included minimum size of herd, Animal Registration, 1 mandatory control by Veterinary service during the 3-year period, ex-post control at the end of the 3-year period (sample 20% of farms). Specific commitments proposed related to animal welfare, hygiene and good breeding conditions.
The last speaker of the event Ms Beatrice Camaioni covered a topic on “Improving credit instruments’ data collection and programming: presentation of a toolkit”. In her presentation, she mostly focused on the application forms that farmers in Italy fill in and that is important from the data collection point of view. These application forms are important for monitoring and evaluation. It can help governments to improve the design and implementation of public policies. Policy evaluation contributes to promoting public accountability, learning and increased public sector effectiveness through improved decision-making. A structured and tailored application form is proposed in order to better manage the credit applications (uniform and homogeneous form to be used), monitor the policy (simplify data gathering and aggregation) and carry out first assessment on results and impact indicators.