HomeIdeaCAA reform, new costs and bureaucracy for farmers

CAA reform, new costs and bureaucracy for farmers

Farmers across Europe are protesting for a fair price and a decent income, denouncing the unbearable costs of production and the bureaucracy which in Italy is destined to increase due to the reform project of the CAA - agricultural assistance centers - signed (by Coldiretti e) of the minister Francesco Lollobrigida.

Our friend Valerio Steccanella, agricultural expert from Bologna, helps us understand the damage that the ministerial decree - approved by the State-Regions Conference on 8 February 2024 (1) - will cause to farmers, breeders and fishermen. As well as freelancers and small CAAs who have always been at their service. #CleanSpades.

1) CAA, the (false) reasons for the reform

The CAA – and the freelancers, until a few months ago (2) – manage all requests for contributions under the CAP (community agricultural policy) and the RDPs (rural development plans). Their reform, not at all necessary:

– is justified, in the explanatory report to the decree, with the need to adopt new geo-spatial systems for the application, investigation and disbursement of public contributions in agriculture

– requires the CAA to have new requirements in terms of skills (always lower than those required by professional associations), organization (tailored to Coldiretti's Green Enterprises), management of potential conflicts of interest (which in Coldiretti instead reach the government and Parliament). (3,4)

2) New costs and bureaucracy for farmers

Before the CAA dictatorship – imposed by AGEA with resolution 9 August 2022 n. 41 (2) farmers, breeders and fishermen could turn to a qualified professional to follow a practice from start to finish, as happens in all other sectors (e.g. construction).

The monopoly of the CAA introduced by the new decree instead involves the need to use, even for a simple CAP application, three different figures:

– an instructor operator, with an employment contract

– a verifier operator, with an employee contract

– a qualified professional for the preparation of technical attachments (for example, assessments for the correction of photo interpretations).

The bureaucratic burden is clear and the increase in costs is equally predictable, since a request that up to now has been managed by a single operator who had the skills will require the intervention of at least three people.

3) Who pays?

The technical report which accompanies the decree denies the assignment of additional financial burdens for public administration coffers, which finance part of the costs of the CAAs to compensate for the public functions delegated to them. It follows that:

– the costs for the community, i.e. for taxpayers who finance both the CAP and the CAA with their taxes, should remain (in theory) unchanged

– farmers will therefore have to pay the increased costs of CAA out of their own pockets, as well as being deprived of the freedom to choose whether to rely on freelancers or cheaper CAA.

4) Who gets rich?

Coldiretti and the other large agricultural confederations - which owns the joint-stock companies that manage the CAA - will enrich themselves at the expense of farmers and public bodies, as well as all citizens and taxpayers. Through:

– public contributions for activities delegated by paying agencies

– agreements with the aforementioned and other bodies, for the exercise of other functions (5)

– the tariffs applied to farmers for CAA services

– fees collected from farmers for 'complementary services' (6)

– union cards improperly claimed and other additional costs not due by law.

5) Quality of services, conflicts of interest?

Horned and beaten, farmers, breeders and fishermen will be forced to turn to the CAA for the management of practices, with the only hope of savings and independence offered by the Free Farmers. And yet, in spite of what was falsely stated in the illustrative report to the decree of the 'brother-in-law':

– 'greater skills' do not exist, since the instructors and verifiers of the new CAA are not required to have any qualifications, specific skills or documented training. It is enough to have been hired, without even a competition, even if only for a fixed term

– the abominable 'conflicts of interest' that the minister (with head of cabinet) of Coldiretti is careful not to mitigate are those of companies that belong to the large agricultural confederations, supported at the same time by the public and private sectors for the management of the same practices .

6) Farmers protesting for freedom

'The ministerial decree will have the sole result of dramatically increasing the bureaucratic burdens and costs of assistance activities delegated by public administrations to agricultural assistance centers (CAA), without in any way guaranteeing a better quality of the services offered' (Valerio Steccanella, agricultural expert, Bologna).

Freedom to tear up the cards of bread-eaters treacherously, to decide whether and which union or association to join, to freely choose who to entrust with the management of one's company files is at the center of the protest of Italian farmers. Which will continue until their sacrosanct rights are respected. (7)

#UnitedFarmers, #CleanSpades!

Dario Dongo

Footnotes

(1) Dario Dongo. Italy, green light for the CAA monopoly on EU aid in agriculture. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(2) Dario Dongo. AGEA and MASAF 'Coldiretti'. The suppression of freelancers in agriculture. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(3) Dario Dongo. Revolving doors in agriculture, a question. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(4) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, Lollobrigida and Fratelli d'Italia, deep ties and #falseflag. #CleanSpades. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(5) See paragraph 3.4 (Other delegated functions) in the article cited in note 1

(6) see paragraph 3.5 (CAA, complementary services) in the article referred to in note 1

(7) Dario Dongo. Farmers protesting in Rome and throughout Italy, 15 February 2024. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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