STATE FUND AGRICULTURE – PAYING AGENCY
The State Fund Agriculture was established in 1998 with the Agricultural Producers Support Act (APSA). Through the Fund, Bulgarian beneficiaries receive financial support from the national budget and from the instruments of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union (EU).
Pursuant to the APSA, the management bodies of the State Fund Agriculture – Paying Agency are the Management Board and the Executive Director. The Management Board consists of 11 members and is chaired by the Minister of Agriculture. The Management Board sets the main guidelines and performs the general management and control of the Fund's activities, in accordance with the applicable national legislation and the European Union (EU) Law.
The operational management of the State Fund Agriculture - Paying Agency is carried out by the Executive Director, who represents the institution, which has the status of a primary budget administrator. The Executive Director organises and manages the Fund's activities in the performance of all its functions.
The structure of the Fund includes Head Office and 28 regional directorates. As structures there are 11 Regional Paying Agencies on the territory of the whole country, for which 11 Regional Technical Inspectorates work.
SAPARD Programme 2001 - 2007
SF Agriculture was accredited as Executive Agency for the implementation of the pre-accession Programme SAPARD on May 15, 2001 with a decision of the EC. The Programme had been acting in Bulgaria since June 1, 2001, and with a decision the EC extended its implementation until the end of 2009.
SAPARD's main priorities, specified in the Regulation for SAPARD are:
· ♦ to support the implementation of European legislation with regard to the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and the related policies
· ♦ to address priority and specific problems for the sustainable adaptation of agriculture and rural areas in the membership candidate countries.
After our country's accession in the EU, in 2007 SF Agriculture received accreditation from the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (now the Ministry of Agriculture) to perform the functions of the only Paying Agency in Bulgaria and to implement the instruments of the CAP and OROP.
The CAP is based on three fundamental principles: free trade within the Community on the basis of common prices, preferences for European products within the Community markets, as well as common financial responsibility.
The goal of the CAP is to ensure an acceptable living standard for farmers, to provide quality food at reasonable prices for the users, to preserve European heritage in rural areas and to contribute to the protection of the environment.
The CAP is funded through two funds within the EU budget:
· The European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) provides direct assistance and financing for market measures;
· The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) provides funding for rural development.
Payments are managed at national level by each EU country. Information on the recipients of CAP payments for the last two financial years shall be published by each country in accordance with EU transparency rules (Commission Regulation (EU) No 908/2014). Information on EAGF and EAFRD grant recipients in Bulgaria is available on theSFA – PA website.
The CAP's main instruments are direct payments and market support for farmers (Pillar 1 of the CAP) and rural development policy (Pillar 2 of the CAP).
SF Agriculture – Paying Agency provides financial support from the European Funds for Bulgarian agriculture through four instruments – direct payments, for which there is co-funding on national level, funds for market support, measures from the Rural Development Programme and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Programme 2014 – 2020 (MAFP)”.
The MAFP 2014 – 2020 supports the implementation of the main objectives and priorities of the EU for the period 2014 – 2020 and the principles of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). They are aimed at viability, competitiveness and environmental sustainability in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and the promotion of social cohesion and job openings in fisheries-dependent communities.
SF Agriculture – Paying Agency through the Directorate Fisheries and Aquaculture performs delegated functions for verification of expenditures incurred by beneficiaries, and monitoring after final payment of grants for projects of the MAFP 2014 – 2020. The Directorate Fisheries and Aquaculture of the PA is responsible for providing an accurate assessment of the costs incurred in compliance with EU regulations and the requirements of the Bulgarian legislation, in order to ensure the financial interests of the Community.
SF Agriculture provides financial support for farmers through state aid as well, with funds from the national budget through short-term and long-term financial instruments. Short-term financial instruments are applied within current financial support and stimulation of the production of certain agricultural products (grain, oil-bearing cultures, vegetables, milk, etc.). Long-term financial instruments have a term of more than one year and are aimed at support and stimulation of the investment process in agriculture.