From 30 March the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture (ARiMR) will accept applications for co-financing of restructuring of small farms under the Rural Development Programme. Farmers can count on premiums in the amount of PLN 60 thousand. They will be able to use them for such changes that will make their farms more profitable and competitive. They will have a maximum of three years to carry out this process.

- Under the sub-measure Restructuring of small farms, a farmer insured in KRUS to the full extent at least 24 months before submitting the application, running his own business on his own account, may obtain funding for the implementation of an investment related to the restructuring of his farm - says Tomasz Kułak, deputy director in the Department of Social Activities and Producer Organisations of the Agency for the Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture, Newseria Biznes news agency.

Support can be applied for by natural persons, owners of a farm in Poland, with an economic size of less than 10 thousand euro. Potential beneficiaries must be subject to social insurance for farmers by virtue of the Act and to the full extent (as a farmer or his spouse) continuously for no less than two full years preceding the month of application submission. Persons who have carried out other economic activity during this period are excluded from the measure.

- The beneficiary will have to ensure that the economic size of the holding reaches at least EUR 10 thousand and increases by at least 20% compared to this year - specifies Tomasz Kułak. - This has to be done within a maximum of three years foreseen for the implementation of the business plan. This measure is complementary to the Modernisation of agricultural holdings and Young Farmer, as it concerns a slightly different profile of potential beneficiaries. Here, what is clearly visible in the name of the submeasure, it concerns only small farms.

The aid will be granted in the form of a bonus of PLN 60 thousand. Each application will be assessed, which will take into account, among others, the target size of the farm, professional qualifications, type of planned production, age of the applicant. On the basis of the points awarded, the order of eligibility for aid will be determined.

Development of small farms

- Beneficiaries' inventiveness within the scope of spending allocated funds may be practically unlimited, because the legislator indicated only such a limitation that 80% of the bonus must be allocated to new fixed assets - indicates Tomasz Kułak. - The freedom in this respect is not full, because the applicant will have to prove that what he intends to buy is for agricultural production. There is no problem when we talk about a tractor or agricultural machinery. However, there may be cases that will actually require a good explanation from the applicant.

According to the programme's assumptions, the aid is to be paid in two instalments: first 80 percent, and then 20 percent. - The aid is to be paid in two instalments: first, 80 percent, and another 20 percent after achieving the objectives set in the business plan.

- The requirements for the first payment application are relatively small, one only has to start the implementation of the business plan - assesses Tomasz Kułak. - After submitting the document, the beneficiary receives 80% of the aid amount, i.e. maximum PLN 48 thousand, and then has three years to fully implement the business plan. It should be emphasized that the investment may or may not be carried out for the full three years. It is permissible to complete it within one year, for example.

ARMA will accept applications until April 28th this year. They should be submitted in Regional Branches of ARMA, competent for the location of the farm. This can be done in person, through an authorized person or by sending the application by registered mail (in the last case, the date of sending decides about meeting the deadline).