Deputy Minister Giedraitis: almost 500,000 hectares of crops have been declared so far, a slower pace than last year

Egidijus Giedraitis. Gedimino Stanišausko nuotr.

Egidijus Giedraitis, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Egidijus Giedraitis, says declarations of agricultural land and crops are easier this year but slower than last year. Compared to the 2023 period, he says, declarations are currently „a couple of days behind“.

„As of Wednesday morning, 486,242 hectares have been declared. The pace is about 40 thousand hectares per day. The pace of declarations is similar, although farmers are declaring much more easily this year and there is less uncertainty. Maybe that is why there is a sense of relaxation, because we are a couple of days behind last year's pace," E. Giedraitis.

He noted that the biggest questions and problems in declaring agricultural land and crops this year are mainly related to coastal protection. This, according to Mr Giedraitis, leads to inaccuracies.

„The most questions are about coastal protection zones. Last year, five-metre buffer strips from unregulated water bodies were compulsory and did not reach far enough into cultivated fields. There were no problems, no infringements, but this year, three-metre buffer strips from unregulated streams or drainage ditches are also mandatory," said the deputy minister for agriculture.

„This year, when it is compulsory, everybody is looking and discovering all sorts of inaccuracies“, – he assured.

Declaration of agricultural land and other areas for 2024 runs from 2 May to 21 June. Late applications will be open until 1 July

The start of declarations of agricultural land and other areas has been postponed by two weeks to 2 May, due to the lack of formal approval by the EC of the amendment to the Strategic Plan for Agriculture and Rural Development 2023/2027.

The amendments to the Strategic Plan were made in order to facilitate the conditions for farmers. One of them concerns the recalculation of the reference size for permanent grassland (this amendment will reduce the reference area for 2018 by as much as 82,000 ha).

The modification of the Strategic Plan has been informally agreed with the EC and all changes are integrated into the approved rules for declaring agricultural areas and other areas.