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Adjustment of agricultural structures and the promotion of rural development

The European Commission, DG VI, has published a request for proposals for pilot and demonstration projects relating to the adjustment of agricultural structures and the promotion of rural development. Under Article 8 of Regulation (EEC) No 4256/88 laying down provisions for i...

The European Commission, DG VI, has published a request for proposals for pilot and demonstration projects relating to the adjustment of agricultural structures and the promotion of rural development. Under Article 8 of Regulation (EEC) No 4256/88 laying down provisions for implementing Regulation (EEC) No 2052/88 as regards the EAGGF Guidance Section, as amended by Regulation (EEC) No 2085/93, the Commission intends to provide support from the EAGGF for pilot projects and demonstration projects under the conditions set out below. With a view to promoting rural development and contributing towards the speedier adjustment of agricultural structures under the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the aims of the Community policy are as follows: - To strengthen and reorganize agricultural and forestry structures, including those for the marketing and processing of agricultural and forestry products, and to contribute towards offsetting the effects of natural handicaps on agriculture; - To reconvert agricultural production and promote the diversification of the activities of farmers of both sexes; - To develop the economic and social base of rural areas, in particular by diversifying jobs and turning to account natural and human resources and by measures to safeguard the environment and maintain the countryside. In order to identify suitable projects for assistance within the appropriations available, the Commission calls on public agencies and/or private bodies concerned to submit proposals in the areas listed below. Projects will be selected on the basis of the following criteria: - Community scope, with or without regional specificity; - Innovative merit; - Representativeness and transferability of the methods and/or results obtained in areas other than that in which the project is implemented; - Technical and economic feasibility assessed ex ante and ex post; - Compliance with Community policies, and in particular the CAP and the policy on the environment. Pilot projects have the following characteristics: - They aim at applying and/or adopting, in real conditions and on a small scale, research results which are likely to be used; - They must permit technical and economic references to be established; - They constitute an intermediate level between research and demonstration; - They must entail the introduction of a plan involving interaction between researchers and advisory officers. Projects providing for innovative investments in the processing/marketing of agricultural and forestry products may be financed as pilot projects provided they are still at the stage of applied research projects. Where they can be applied directly in agriculture, Article 11(1) of Regulation (EEC) No 866/90 will apply. Demonstration projects have the following characteristics: - They are intended to demonstrate the real possibilities of production systems, methods and techniques, which must accordingly be based on reliable existing technical and economic references. The objective of a demonstration project is to show, on a scale approaching real conditions, the technical feasibility and economic viability of a new product and/or technology; - They must not include research since the technological basis must have been developed beforehand and demonstrated in the laboratory or in a pilot project. The fields covered by this call for proposals are as follows: - Non-food crops (demonstration projects only): . Utilization of agricultural raw materials for the production of liquid (motor bio-fuels) or solid (ligno-cellulose) bio-fuels; . Annual or perennial fibre plants for the production of cellulose (for the paper, chemical and/or building industries); . Production of agricultural raw materials for utilization in the technical oils and chemicals industries (plastics, paints, lubricants, plant-health product carriers); . Production of aromatic and medicinal plants for use in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and refined chemicals industries. The projects must be related to the production and the processing of raw materials for non-food purposes in compliance with the conditions on the economic upgrading of projects and by-products of processing as referred to in Regulations (EEC) Nos 334/93 and 2595/93 and the international commitments of the European Union; - Agri-environment aspects (pilot and/or demonstration projects): . Farm advisory services and information networks specialized in production methods which are compatible with the environment; . Introduction of "environmental services" systems based on contracts; . Introduction of an ecological quality mark for holdings utilizing agricultural production methods compatible with environmental protection; . Development of strategies for promoting and marketing agricultural products produced on such holdings and based on the exploitation of an ecological image; . Efficacious information networks and distribution systems; - Forestry (pilot and/or demonstration projects): . Optimization of agri-forestry production systems and compatibility with forestry measures (e.g. afforestation, protection against forest fires); - Rural development (pilot and/or demonstration projects): . Diversification in country areas to develop activities with a high added value taking account of environmental conservation considerations (farm tourism, craft trades, on-farm processing of products); . Innovatory formulas for the setting-up of young farmers. Further information may be obtained from: European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture Unit for Coordination of Agricultural Research DG VI/F-II.3 200 rue de la Loi (L130 6/233) B-1049 Brussels Fax +32-2-2963029