The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) came into effect in early 2023 and for you as a farmer, it brings a lot of changes.
Among other things, it reforms the Flemish Agricultural Investment Fund (VLIF). Not only the conditions to benefit from VLIF support, but also its scope and the application procedure are changing. Today, the first applications for VLIF investment support under the new CAP conditions can finally be applied for.
Initially, the Eloket is opened only for applications for support for productive investments. The first block period for this will run until 30/06/2023.
Below we briefly list what the main conditions are for receiving support and what changes you, as a farmer, should take into account.
With the advent of the new CAP 2023-2027, VLIF support was greatly reformed. The CAP not only changes the eligibility conditions, they also update the aid rates. Europe and Belgium thus seek to put even stronger emphasis on supporting young farmers, sustainability & entrepreneurship, and administrative simplification. The new CAP is applicable for aid applications as of 01/01/2023.
As of today, the first aid applications for productive investments can be submitted and this under the renewed conditions. The Eloket will soon also be opened for aid applications for take-over and start-up aid as well as for aid for non-productive investments.
 The CAP describes a young farmer as a person under 40 years of age before January 1 of the year of aid application.
What are the conditions for the reformed VLIF support for productive investment?
To be eligible for the renewed VLIF grant, the farm must initially meet the definition of "active farmer" and about a earning capacity of EUR 20,000 dispose. Whether these conditions are met can be found in the Eloket. For farms in the form of a company, the condition remains that each director a natural person must be.
Unlike the old conditions, as a farmer, you no longer have to achieve a minimum income from farming. The condition regarding maximum non-agricultural turnover was also removed. The new conditions now stipulate that at least 1/3 of all outgoing operations must be related to agricultural activities. This is checked against the submitted VAT returns.
Depending on the type of investment, an aid rate of 15%, 30%, 40% or 50% can be enjoyed. Moreover, as a young farmer, you can enjoy an additional support of 10% on top of these basic percentages. Which investments are eligible and the corresponding aid percentages can be found in the VLIF code list.
What is also new is that for the bulk of investments, the amount of aid is no longer determined on the basis of a tender, but rather on the basis of a unit cost per investment. This makes the application and disbursement of aid a lot easier administratively.
The selection itself is then done on the basis of a sustainability score on the one hand and on the basis of the context of the investment on the other hand. Thus, young farmers or groups of farmers enjoy an increased selection score.
Finally, under the new CAP, you no longer have to wait until after the selection to carry out the investment. You can start investing from the end of the first block period, in this case from 30/06/2023. The payment request then follows 2.5 months after the end of the same block period.
For additional information regarding VLIF support, please contact any of our pro experts. We would also like to refer to the documentation bundled at the website of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, as well as to the webinars and slideshows of the Flemish Rural Network.
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