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The general development objectives of he programme for the period 2000-2006 are:
The first general objective is to “improve the competitiveness of Greek agriculture in view of the challenges of an increasingly competitive international environment”. Within this framework, the aim is to improve the competitive conditions of fresh and processed Greek agricultural produce, so that production can cope with the pressures of a possible increase in imports and also enhance its exporting capacity.
The second general objective is “the sustainable and integrated development of the countryside in order to increase its competitiveness and attractiveness and to restore its social and economic function”. This objective aims to revive the declining regions whose local economy is directly dependent on the primary sector. The specific objective is to create in these areas the appropriate terms and conditions in order to reverse the unfavourable demographic trends, by promoting opportunities for multi-activity, equal opportunities for both sexes and use of natural resources in ways that will ensure sustainability.
The third general objective is to “conserve and improve the environment and the countryside’s natural resources”. This objective aims to develop the appropriate infrastructure to combat isolation in combination with other environmental protection programmes – such as those combating forest fires and other natural disasters – in order to improve the attractiveness of rural areas. If the services rendered to the inhabitants of rural areas are improved, this will play a major role in reversing the current trend of countryside abandonment.
In order to achieve the above objectives 7 priority axes and 34 measures are implemented.
The basic results expected from the completion of the programme are as follows:
n Investment aid to 13,100 agricultural holdings, which correspond to 5.2% of the total number of agricultural holdings in the country that meet the requirements of the programme
n 24% increase in agricultural productivity (family income per work unit)
n 1,100 assisted investment plans related to the processing and trade of primary sector products, including forestry products
n Creation of 3,800 new jobs in the processing and trade of primary sector products, including forestry products
n 29% contribution to assets created in the agro-industry sector
n 20,300 new farmers assisted, which corresponds to 9% of all individuals over the age of 45 who are employed in the agricultural sector
n Improvement of 20% of the existing agricultural education structures
n 5% increase in sector exports
n 5% improvement in milk-producing capacity for sheep and goats included in livestock breeding and reproductive improvement programmes; 10% improvement for cows.
n Over 20% drop in plant protection costs in fields included in the programme
n Increase in reservoir water storage capacity to 8Χ106 m3
n Improvement in irrigation conditions for 10,000 hectares of cultivated land
n Implementation of 40 Integrated Rural Development Programmes with interventions targeting 800,000 inhabitants of mountainous, disadvantaged and island regions.
721 projects have been approved up to date, their total public cost amounting to 82.6% of the overall public cost of the programme. Total budget contracted (legal commitments) corresponds to 49.7% of the overall public cost of the programme, while expenditure to date on the whole programme amounts to 27.5% of the overall public cost of the OP.
Actions already planned and financed by the programme include:
n Funding for 12,554 investments in agricultural holdings, the public cost amounting to 345 million euro
n Single premium paid to 15,426 young farmers for first-time setting up on an agricultural holding, the public cost amounting to 225 million euro
n 786 agricultural product processing and trading firms assisted, the public cost amounting to 400 million euro
n Construction of 22 major land reclamation schemes with a total public cost of 265 million euro
n Assistance to 880 small farm investment plans, the public cost amounting to 130 million euro, and 478 small public works projects, the public cost amounting to 115 million euro, as part of the Integrated Rural Development Programmes.