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Vathi backs off with electronic leases, opens the farmer’s card


Lebanon’s withdrawal on the issue of electronic leases, with the minister stating in public statements that for this year’s IACS declarations, manuscripts will also be accepted. At the same time, Spilios Livanos says that in consultation with Piraeus Bank, the bank will start receiving requests for new Farmer’s Cards on Tuesday, February 8th.

Exceptionally, only for 2022, the handwritten leases will be accepted alongside the electronic ones, “due to a series of objective difficulties with the completion of the Cadastre, the land consolidation, the finalization of the forest maps and the pandemic”, as Spilios Livanos conveyed in his reply to blue MPs who were pushing for the abolition of this regulation.

Then, in an interview given by the Minister of Rural Development to the state news agency, he appealed to producers to trust the electronic leases. “We must all together drive agricultural production forward, and this can only be done through transparency and credibility of all vis-à-vis all. Digitalisation is one such tool,” he said. At the same time, Mr. Livanos announced that from Tuesday, February 8, the Farmer’s Card will be activated.

Timely question of the C.O. of the Movement for Change:

To: The Minister of Rural Development and Food, Mr. S. Livano

Subject: Intense turmoil to growers and livestock farmers over the continuing delays in 2021 subsidy payments due to their erratic handling, opacity and inconvenience by OPEKEPE.

Great upheaval prevails among growers and livestock breeders both for the continued delays in the payments of the remaining subsidies of 2021 and for the unjustified increase of bureaucracy, the opacity and the increase of the cost of farms by the misguided, surprise and mishandling of OPEKEPE, since:

a) A large number of producers remain unpaid, because at the last minute OPEKEPE suddenly applied the wrong way of crossing the ATAK of the declared parcels by making arbitrary assumptions. Thus, for example, a unified digitized parcel of land of a producer, which came into his possession after the purchase of three individual neighboring parcels, is not paid in its entirety unjustifiably, because the misappropriated control of the ATAK by OPEKEPE rejects it in its entirety. Thousands of producers for this reason are in uncertainty, since a few days before the end of the submission of the administrative act, there is no clear directive on what they may need to correct, if this is possible and especially if this is enough, since nothing guarantees that the unforeseen and wrong handling of OPEKEPE will not continue to surprise them.

b) On December 1, 2021, OPEKEPE, under the pressure of non-existence of controls, regarding the fictitious rentals presented by trespassers of large public and private pastures, again made another arbitrary demand, requesting mandatory and only electronic leases. This sudden demand is even against tax legislation and has put hundreds of thousands of small producers upset and increased costs. The announcement was issued when already many producers e.g. autumn cereals had signed for the current period 2021-2022 the relevant lease agreements. It was completely ignored by OPEKEPE that there were already too many long-term valid handwritten lease agreements deposited in previous years by the producers with the Organization. As a result, suddenly, new costs for the drafting of new leases that had already been drafted, the refusal of many small owners to proceed with the drafting of a new electronic agreement due to the cost of the accountant’s fee. The problems that have arisen lead to a lack of land for the activation of rights in 2022, an increase in rents amid the crisis and an increase in production costs eventually. It is obvious that this is a wrong and unprepared handling that only bureaucracy and cost adds, leaving mainly small farmers and small owners out of agricultural production, leading them to abandon agricultural activity.

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