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MEMO/08/266

Brussels, 23 April 2008

Rural Development Programmes of 4 regions of Spain:

Country profile for Spain

Size: 504,411 km²

Population: 44.5 millions inhabitants (density: 88 inhabitants/ km²)

GDP per capita: 19,480 € (average for the period 2000-2002; source: National strategy plan for rural development)

Rural areas cover 91.3 % of the Spanish territory and approximately 20% of the population resides in these areas. The Spanish situation is characterized by important territorial discrepancies, mainly between the interior and the coastal areas.

Almost 0.95 million people are employed on 1,140,730 agricultural holdings, accounting for 998,000 work units. A high share of farms (68.4 %) is managed by full time farmers. The average holding size is 22.1 ha of utilized agricultural area, with large farms located mainly in the central and southern part of the country and small farms in the northern part. The dual structure of the Spanish agricultural sector is evident in the fact that 55% of holdings use only 5% of the agricultural land and 8.7% of the holdings occupy 69.1 % of the agricultural land. The output value of agriculture (and forestry) is approximately 26 billion €. Thus, the sector contributes approximately 3.32% to the total gross value added produced in Spain (food industry: 4.5%)

The diversity of natural resources and landscapes (humid areas in the North and drier areas in the South) can also be seen as an important asset. Twenty-five percent of the territory has been classified as Natura 2000 areas, and the preservation of endangered biodiversity is seen as a very important issue.

Chosen strategy corresponding to the profile

Due to its administrative structure, Spain has chosen to implement the rural development policy through rural development programmes (RDP) established at the regional level by the Autonomous Communities. Seventeen regional and two horizontal programmes (the National Framework and the Rural Network drafted at the national level) have been prepared. The National Framework was adopted by the Commission on 28th November 2007 and does not itself dispose of the budget. Instead, regional programmes and the rural development network, which are currently in the process of approval, provide the basis for the co-financing of Spanish programmes from the EAFRD budget.

Region: Autonomous Region of Cantabria

Profile of Cantabria:

Cantabria is not a convergence region.

  • Population: 562,309 inhabitants (2005).
  • Size:5,289km² (1.5% of the Spanish surface)
  • Population density of 106.1 inhabitants/ km2; it varies significantly within the region. Almost 43% of its population lives in the urban centres of Santander and Torrelavega.
  • Rural areas in Cantabria occupy 80% of the regional territory.
  • Population with more than 60 years of age represents 19% of the total population.
  • In 2005, the GDP per capita in was 20,544 € (below the Spanish average of 20,838 €).
  • The UAA is comprised of 276,000ha or 59.6% of the Cantabrian territory. Forest areas occupy a significant part of the territory (40%)
  • Cantabria has 90% of its territory classified as less favoured areas (mountainous areas).
  • The unemployment rate (2005) is 8.1%, which represents a significant decrease since the year 2000 when this rate was 14%. The activity and employment rates are 55.4% and 50.9% respectively.
  • The agri-food sector in Cantabria contributes 10% of employment and 6% of gross domestic product. However, in rural areas this contribution is significantly higher with as much as 40% and more of employment coming from the agri-food sector.
  • Natura 2000 areas cover 28% of the territory (or 147,000ha), of which 24.4% is forest surface and 66.9% is UAA. The Natura 2000 network includes 29 protected areas, of which 21 are Sites of Community Interest (SCI) and 8 are Special Protection Areas (SPA) for birds.
  • There are 20,000 agricultural holdings. The educational and training levels in the agricultural sector are low.
  • Livestock production represents the primary focus in agriculture, contributing 90% of final agricultural output. Dairy production is the most important sub-sector, followed by beef production.
  • The progressive abandonment of agricultural land in mountainous and hill areas has lead to an increase in the forest surface and this has also contributed to the risk of forest fires, which have become more frequent.

Chosen strategy corresponding to the profile:

The overall objectives were chosen in accordance with the Community Strategic Guidelines (CSG), the National Strategy Plan and the Spanish National Framework.

The programme outlines the importance for individual measures (in financial terms), giving priority to handicap payments in less favoured areas, early retirement, and agri-environment measures.

Overall budget and share of EU funding (in €)

Axis
Total Public Expenditure (in €)
Share of EAFRD* (in %)
EAFRD Contribution (in €)
Axis 1
56 641 858
50%
28 320 929
Axis 2
72 259 040
50%
36 129 520
Axis 3
2 600 000
50%
1 300 000
LEADER**
18 450 000
50%
9 225 000
Technical assistance
1 514 656
50%
757 328
Total
151 465 554
50%
75 732 777

* EAFRD: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

* Many measures of axis 3 will be implemented by LEADER

Overall aim of RD programme in the region

To strengthen the competitiveness, develop a sustainable use of natural resources and the global attractive in rural areas intervening on integration between the developments of agricultural and forestry sector, environment, bio-energy, rural tourism and services.

Axis 1 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 28 320 929 € (37.40% of the programme total)

Total public funding: 56 641 858 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

  • Early retirement
  • Modernization of agricultural holdings

Axis 2 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 36 129 520 € (47.71% of the programme total)

Total public funding: 72 259 040 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

- Natural handicap payments to farmers in mountain areas

- Agri-environment payments

Axis 3 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 1 300 000 € (1.72% the programme total)

Total public funding: 2 600 000 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

  • Basic services for the economy and rural population
  • Village renewal and development

LEADER budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 9 225 000 € (12.18% of the programme total)

Total public funding: 18 450 000 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

  • Quality of life and diversification
  • Running of the local action group, skills acquisition, animation

Region: Castilla-la-Mancha

Profile of Castilla-La Mancha:

Castilla-La Mancha is a convergence region.

  • Population: 1 932 261 inhabitants (4.32% of the population in Spain).
  • Size: 79 462 Km² (15.7% of the Spanish territory)
  • Population density of 24.33 inhabitants/km2 (the national average in Spain is 88 inhabitants/km²). The main characteristics of the region are its ageing population, and low population density. Of the 919 municipalities, 743 have less than 2,000 inhabitants and 17.96% of the population. On the other hand only 31 municipalities have a population of over 10,000 inhabitants, which represent 51.7% of the region's population.
  • Castilla-La Mancha is distinctly rural with 98.06% of the regional territory classified as rural. Population older than 65 years of age represents 18.7% of the total population.
  • In 2006, the GDP per capita in Castilla-La Mancha was 18 333 € (79.87% of the Spanish average).
  • The unemployment rate is 8.95%, which represents a significant decrease since the year 1999 when this rate was 15.09%. The activity and employment rates are 58.3% and 53.32% respectively.
  • The UAA covers 4 403 180 ha. Forest occupies about 45% of the regional territory.
  • There are 137 120 agricultural holdings, with an average 32.1 ha per holding.
  • Agriculture in Castilla-La Mancha is characterised by the high density of arable land which extends throughout the territory and the specialization in the production of vines and cereals which cover 71.6% of the arable land and 64% of the total production in tonnes. As regards livestock production ovine production is the most important in the region.
  • 11% of the total area of Castilla-La Mancha faces very serious soil erosion. Main soil losses occur in cultivated land although similar losses are reported in forest areas mainly in maquis or scrubland areas.
  • Approximately 89.1% of the territory of Castilla-La Mancha is classified as less favoured areas, 23.5% of which in mountain areas.
  • The agriculture sector employs 7.26% of the active population and contributes 8.1% to the Gross Value Added.
  • The agri-food sector is the most important within the manufacturing sector employing some 33 thousand people and is dominated by small enterprises. Main products are wines, cheese or milk products in general and meat. The development of quality products is significant with 31 quality designations, particularly in the wines of which there are 17.
  • The Natura 2000 areas cover 23.07% or 1 833 686 Ha of the territory. Of this 49.69% is constituted by UAA. The Natura 2000 network includes 108 protected areas, of which 72 are Special Areas of Conservation (SAC's) and 36 are Special Protection Areas (SPA) for birds.

Chosen strategy corresponding to the profile:

The overall objectives were chosen in accordance with the Community Strategic Guidelines (CSG), the National Strategy Plan and the Spanish National Framework.

Measures proposed are coherent with the objectives set and contribute to strengthen the competitiveness. Water management will be focused in water savings, keeping this policy coherent with the compliance of the Water Framework Directive.

Overall budget and share of EU funding (in €)

Axis
Total Public Expenditure (in €)
Share of EAFRD* (in %)
EAFRD Contribution (in €)
Axis 1
679 209 691
47.02 %
434 694 202
Axis 2
788 287 983
39.22 %
362 612 472
Axis 3*
15 977 995
1.28 %
11 823 716
LEADER
153 334 026
12.27 %
113 467 179
Technical assistance
4 500 000
0.20 %
1 856 250
Total
1 641 309 694
100 %
924 453 819

* EAFRD: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

Overall aim of the RD programme of Castilla-La Mancha

The main objective of the RDP is the increasing the competitiveness of the agricultural sector which is the cornerstone of the rural economy. Endogenous and local development as well as diversification of economic activities are key elements for improving the quality of life in rural areas. Employment creation is the main measure so as to halt depopulation within the rural areas.

Axis 1 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 434 694 202 € (47.02% of the EAFRD total)

Total public funding: 679 209 691 €

Main priorities under this axis:

  • Adding value to agricultural products
  • Infrastructure development and adaptation of agriculture

Axis 2 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 362 612 472 € (39.22% of the EAFRD total)

Total public funding: 788 287 983 €

Main priorities under this axis:

  • Agri-environment measures
  • Restoring forestry potential and introducing prevention actions

Axis 3 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 99 883 716 € (10.80% the EAFRD total)

Total public funding: 134 977 995 €

Main priorities under this axis:

  • Creation and development of micro-enterprises
  • Encouragement of tourism activities

LEADER budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 113 467 179 € (12.27 % of the EAFRD total)

Total public funding: 153 334 026 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

  • Quality of life and diversification
  • Cooperation

Region: Extremadura

Profile of Extremadura:

  • Population: 1 086 373 inhabitants.
  • Size: 41 634 km² and a population density of 26 inhab/ Km2.
  • GDP per capita in Extremadura is 63.8 % of the EU average (convergence region)
  • Unemployment rate of 17.2% (higher than the EU average).
  • Rural areas cover 98.5% of the territory and 88.7% of the population lives in rural areas.
  • Agricultural, forest and wetlands occupy a significant part of the territory (55.5%, 42.1% and 1.7% respectively).
  • Less Favoured Areas cover 91.9 % of the agricultural surface.
  • Natura 2000 network covers 25.2% of the territory of the region: this includes 12.46% of the agricultural surface and 68% of the forestry surface.
  • High contribution of employment in agriculture (14.2% of the employment) if compared with the Spanish and EU average.
  • The value of the agricultural output accounts for 13% of the total regional output.
  • High proportion of meadows and pastures (60% of UAA) and importance of fallow land (set aside), that covers 12% of UAA.
  • Within the total agricultural production, the main sectors cereals are (cereals (especially corn and wheat) olive production, tomatoes, melons, cherries, wine and livestock production (extensive type)- the pork production makes up 37% of the agricultural production value, with the average number of sows per holding being at 40 heads.
  • The "Dehesa" agro-forestry production system combines the extensive use of crops, livestock, and silviculture. The system yields a variety of products, such as cork from cork oak, fodder cereals, firewood and legumes. "Dehesa" covers 45% of the forested area in Extremadura or a total of 1,429,958ha and is concentrated in the Central and Southern part of the region.
  • The average holding size of 40ha is very high compared to the average at a national level (14ha). A large proportion of holdings (63%) operate on less than 10ha of land and a small proportion (8%) on over 100ha of land. Holdings with over 100ha of land cover nearly three quarters of all UAA.
  • Food industry contributes 2.63% of GAV and 2.38% GDP in the region. Food industry makes up 32% of employment in the industrial sector in the region, 27% of added value, and 44% of net sales.
  • Extremadura has 10 regional products participating in quality schemes and has a relatively large proportion of land under organic agriculture (4.6% of UAA in Extremadura).

Chosen strategy corresponding to the profile:

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

Therefore, the priorities and objectives of this RDP can be summarised under three headings:

1) Improving the competitiveness of the agricultural, forestry and agri-food sectors.

2) Improving the environment and the rural environment

3) Economic diversification and improvement of the quality of life in rural areas.

Overall budget and share of EU funding

AXIS
PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION
Total public (€)
Share of EAFRD (%)
EAFRD* amount (€)
Axis 1
577 686 563
64.35%
371 741 304
Axis 2
463 263 016
63.00%
291 855 700
Axis 3
30 773 605
75.00%
23 080 203
LEADER
114 503 823
80.00%
91 603 058
Technical Assistance
2 079 573
75.00%
1 559 680
Total
1 188 306 580
65.63%
779 839 945

* EAFRD: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

Overall aim of the RD programme of Extremadura

The improvement of the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, the promotion of sustainable agriculture and forestry and the searching of new opportunities and a higher quality of life in the rural areas.

Axis 1 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 371 741 304 € (47.67% of the EAFRD contribution)

Total public funding: 577 686 563 €

Main priorities under this Axis:

  • Promotion of knowledge and improvement in human potential.
  • Restructuring and improvement of the physical potential and promotion of innovation.

Axis 2 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 291 855 700 € (37.43% of EAFRD contribution)

Total public funding: 463 263 016 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

  • - Sustainable use of the agricultural land
  • - Sustainable use of the forest land

Axis 3 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 23 080 203 € (2.96% of EAFRD contribution, 14.70 % including Leader Axis).

Total public funding: 30 773 605 €

Main priorities under this Axis:

  • Diversification of the economy
  • Improving the quality of life in rural areas.

LEADER budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 91 603 058 € (11.75% of EAFRD contribution)

Total public funding: 114 503 823 €

The Axis Leader is devoted exclusively to the implementation of Axis 3 measures.

Main priorities under this Axis:

  • Promote rural networking and cooperation
  • Extend the territorial coverage of Local Action Groups
  • Diversification of the economy
  • Improving the quality of life in rural areas.

Region: Autonomous Region of Murcia

Profile of Murcia:

Murcia is a convergence region.

  • Population:1.3 million inhabitants
  • Size is 11 314 km² (2.2% of the Spanish surface)
  • Population density of 118 inhabitants/km² (Spain: 87).
  • 36% of Murcia's population lives in rural areas, which occupy 83% of the regional territory.
  • The GDP per capita is 16 365 € (78.5% of EU25 average).
  • The UAA is 624 305 ha or 55% of the territory.
  • The unemployment rate (2006) is 7.91%, affecting more women (10.74%) than men (6.06%)
  • In 2006, the primary sector employed 11% of the population (against 4.8% in Spain) and, in total numbers, the population employed in agriculture has slightly increased from 1999 to 2006 (from 59.9 thousand people to 63.6 thousand people). Agri-food industry accounts for 15% of the regions' GDP. Fruit and vegetables account for more than 80% of the agricultural production and 58% of the total exports of the region are fruit and vegetables and agri-food products.
  • Less than 4% of the holdings have more than 50 ha and almost 75% of the holdings have less than 5 ha.
  • 69% of the regional agricultural surface is occupied with dry-land farming (cereals, wine groves, olive groves and almond trees) and 31% irrigation.
  • The Natura 2000 areas cover 39.5% of the territory and include 47 Sites of Community Interest and 22 Special protection Areas.

The chosen strategy corresponding to the profile:

The main objective of RDP Murcia consists in developing the rural areas by increasing their sustainability, so that rural areas will be a cohesion element of the territory and a source of economic and social growth for the region.

In conformity with the Community Strategic Guidelines (CSG), the National Strategy Plan and the Spanish National Framework, and taking into account the SWOT analysis, Murcia pursues 3 objectives:

  • to increase the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector
  • to improve the environment and the rural areas
  • to increase the quality of life in rural areas and to promote diversification of the rural economy.

The overall budget and share of EU funding (in €)

Axis
Total Public Expenditure (in €)
EAFRD contribution rate (in %)
EAFRD *
Contribution (in €)
Axis 1
242 305 243
47%
113 883 464
Axis 2
165 174 283
41%
67 721 456
Axis 3 *
0
0
0
LEADER
31 663 267
75%
23 747 450
Technical assistance
2 073 770
30%
622 131
Total
441 216 563
46.68%
205 974 501

* EAFRD: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

* Axis 3 will be implemented by LEADER

Overall aim of the RDP Murcia

To strengthen the competitiveness, develop a sustainable use of natural resources and the global attractive in rural areas intervening on integration between the development of agricultural and forestry sector, environment, bio-energy, rural tourism and services

Axis 1 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 113 883 464 € (55.29% of EAFRD total)

Total public funding: 242 305 243 €

Main priorities under this Axis:

  • Infrastructure for development and adaptation of agriculture and forestry
  • Adding value to agricultural and forestry products
  • Modernisation of agricultural holdings

Axis 2 budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 67 721 456 € (32.88% of EAFRD total)

Total public funding: 165 174 283 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

  • Agro-environment payments
  • First afforestation of agricultural land

Axis 3 and LEADER budget allocation and main priorities:

EAFRD: 23 747 450 € (11.53% of EAFRD total)

Total public funding: 31 663 267 €

Main priorities under this axis are:

  • Support for business creation and development
  • Basic services for the economy and rural population
  • Encouragement of tourism activities
  • Conservation and upgrading of the rural

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