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MEMO/07/430

Brussels, 25 October 2007

Rural development plan for Flanders (Belgium)

Region profile:

  • Size: 13,522 km²; 0% of the total land surface is alpine land (mountain area).
  • 6 million inhabitants; 41% live in what are considered as rural areas, the remaining 59% are mostly located in the triangle formed by the cities of Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels.
  • Unemployment rate of 8.5% with a high share in the age group 15-24 years
  • In 2005, approximately 34,000 agricultural holdings managed 0.6 million hectares of cultivated land or 47% of the total Flemish surface. A further 11% of the surface is covered by forests.
  • The cultivated land can roughly be split into three parts: 59% are fodder crops, 32% arable crops and 8% horticulture crops.
  • Around 49% of all farms are managed on part-time basis; in recent years the share of full-time agricultural holdings has fallen by 12%.
  • Only 0.8% of the UAA is classified as less-favoured area (areas under environmental restrictions)
  • The food sector is very diversified; its main components are meat, drinks, dairy products, chocolates and sugar and fruit and vegetables. Organic farming only represents a minor share of the agriculture output (less than 1%).

Chosen strategy corresponding to the profile:

The overall objectives were chosen in accordance with the Community Strategic Guidelines (CSG) and the National Strategy Plan and are:

  • Improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector,
  • Promoting the sustainability of the countryside and natural resources;
  • improving the quality of life in rural areas

Budget and share of EU funding

Total public expenditure: 667.6 million € of which 224.5 million € EAFRD[1] funding. Additional regional funding (state aid) of EUR 40.9 million

Axis
Total Expenditure (in €)
Share of EAFRD (in %)
EAFRD Contribution (in €)
Axis 1
449 041 417
30
134 712 425
Axis 2
112 260 354
50
56 130 177
Axis 3
59 867 857
30
17 960 357
LEADER
37 424 453
30
11 227 336
Technical assistance
8 980 828
50
4 490 414
Total
667 574 909
33.63
224 520 709

Overall aim of RD programme in Flanders

  • Stimulating a dynamic and innovative agriculture sector,
  • encouraging sustainable production methods with a view to improving the environment,
  • improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of the rural economy,
  • local capacity building for more employment and diversification

Axis 1 budget allocation and main priorities:

Total public expenditure: 449.0 million €, EAFRD co-financing rate 30%

Main priorities: modernisation of agriculture holdings (63% of total public expenditure for axis 1), setting up of farms (10.7%), training (8.4%), adding value to agriculture products (6.4%).

Axis 2 budget allocation and main priorities:

Total public expenditure: 112.3 million €o, EAFRD co-financing rate 50%, additional regional funding (state aid) 40.9 million €.

Main priorities: agro environment measure (89.9% of total co-financed public expenditure), LFA payments (2.8%), Natura 2000 payments (2.3%), afforestation of agriculture land (2.4%).

Axis 3 budget allocation and main priorities:

Total public expenditure: 59.9 million €, EAFRD co-financing rate 30%

Main priorities: diversification (36.2% of total co-financed public expenditure), conservation and upgrading of rural heritage (26.3%), village renewal and development (17.7%), basic services for the rural economy (9.7%).

Leader budget allocation:

Total public expenditure: 37.4 million €, EAFRD co-financing rate 30%
The Leader axis will be implemented using axis 3 measures, focussed on the quality of life and diversification

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rurdev/index_en.htm


[1] EAFRD = European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development


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