The rural development programme POP focuses on the development, sustainability, and innovation of the Dutch agricultural sector, in line with the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the National Strategic Plan (NSP).
The year 2020 marked the conclusion of the current CAP. The new CAP will not be implemented until early 2023. In order to bridge this transition period, the existing POP3 programma has been extended. Also in 2022, several new grant programmes will be opened under the name POP3+.
Regional Grant Programmes: Themes
The POP3+ programmes are implemented by the provinces and cover the following themes:
- Strengthening innovation, sustainability, and competitiveness
- Young farmers
- Nature and landscape
- Improving water quality
- LEADER (strengthening rural areas)
Theme 2 (young farmers) is intended for young agrarian entrepreneurs who want to improve the sustainability of, and make investments in, their businesses, for example during the succession of their farm. These concern relatively small contributions of up to €20,000. In what follows, we will discuss themes 1, 2, 3, and 4 in more detail.
Potential applicants for themes 1, 2, 3, and 4 are:
- Agricultural entrepreneurs
- Landowners and users
- Agricultural organisations
- Nature and landscape organisations
- Provincial governments
- Water Boards
- Partnerships between the abovementioned parties
Whilst each programme has its own specific conditions, the following general conditions apply:
- The applicant falls under one of the above target groups.
- The application provides a description of the activities/investments to be carried out; a budget, including explanation; and a financing plan.
- In addition, the necessity, objectives, implementation, and intended results of the project are described in a project plan.
- In general, a minimum project size of €200,000 applies.
- For most programmes, 100% of eligible costs are subsidised.
- General evaluation criteria are effectiveness, feasibility, efficiency, and urgency.
The total grant, as well as specific eligible costs and project activities, differ per scheme. Below, we provide a brief overview of the possible activities per theme. In addition, we provide an overview of the programmes per province for which you can currently apply.
1. Strengthening Innovation, Sustainability, and Competitiveness
This grant supports investments in rural areas that contribute to sustainability and greening. Cooperation between farmers, water boards, and knowledge institutions is encouraged, working together on innovation and making agriculture more sustainable.
The focus differs per province:
- In the province of Groningen, financing can be requested to organise workshops and trainings in the field of modernisation and innovation within the agricultural sector, with a focus on nature-inclusive agriculture and salinisation (deadline 28 January 2022).
- From 3 January onwards, applications can be submitted for investments in infrastructure for the development, modernisation, or adaptation of agriculture within the province of Friesland. The grant comprises 100% of eligible costs; the total budget is € 400,000 (deadline 3 February 2022). In addition, subsidies are available for the land consolidation of fragmented parcels to improve sustainability and efficiency (deadline 3 February 2022).
- In the province of Drenthe, from 1 February onwards, funding is also available for the land consolidation of fragmented parcels to improve sustainability and efficiency (deadline 31 March).
- The province of Zeeland has opened the Green Economic Recovery Fund on 20 December 2021. Agricultural businesses that want to invest in sustainability or want to work together on sustainability and economic recovery can apply (deadline 14 February 2022).
- In the province of Brabant, too, from 20 December 2021 onwards, funding can be requested from the Green Economic Recovery Fund as indicated above (deadline 14 February 2022).
- In the province of Gelderland, from 7 February onwards, grants can be requested for the relocation of glasshouse horticulture companies to glasshouse concentration areas. The grant comprises €25 per m2 of glass that has to be cleaned up, with a maximum of €1 million per project. In total, €4 million is available (deadline 21 March 2022). From May 2022 onwards, a new programme is also expected for innovative cooperation projects within the agricultural sector that have a positive impact on nature, biodiversity, and climate. From 4 May onwards, two new programmes will open: one for the professionalisation of short value chains (i.e., chains with one link between producer and buyer, for example of a regional product; deadline 11 May 2022); and one for innovative cooperation projects within the agricultural sector that have a positive impact on nature, biodiversity, and the climate (deadline 15 June 2022).
2. Nature and Landscape
The subsidies covered here relate to non-productive investments in nature restoration and realisation.
The programmes under this theme differ for each province. Some provinces publish a broader call, whilst others have designated a number of specific areas within which the proposed measures can take place.
- In the province of Friesland, from 3 January onwards, applications can be submitted for non-productive hydrological measures PAS and non-productive investments for restoration or establishment measures for nature, landscape, biodiversity with a proven direct link to agriculture. The grant comprises 100% of eligible costs; the total budget is € 2.6 million (deadline 3 February 2022).
- From 31 January 2022 onwards, funding can be requested within the province of Zeeland for non-productive investments for biodiversity, nature, and landscape (deadline 1 April 2022).
3. Improving Water Quality
Grants that fall within this theme also relate to non-productive investments. This programme is ideally suited for activities with the primary aim of improving nature and environmental values.
Eligible activities relate to the (re)design or transformation and management of the water system for agricultural, water, and climate purposes. Activities should also contribute to the Water Framework Directive (WFD) goals. Currently, you can apply for one programme:
- From 1 December 2021 onwards, financing can be requested within the province of Zeeland for non-productive investments in water related to sustainability of agriculture, water use, and climate (deadline 28 February 2022).
4. LEADER (Strengthening Rural Areas)
The common goal of all LEADER projects is to support cooperation between different parties—farmers, entrepreneurs, water boards, local authorities, knowledge institutions, etc.—in order to stimulate the strengthening of rural areas. The focus of the various programmes differ per province.
Some provinces encourage cooperation in general around certain themes, whilst others have selected specific municipalities or areas in which activities can take place:
- The province of Drenthe has two new programmes to strengthen the socio-economic vitality of Southeast and Southwest Drenthe, starting on 9 May (deadline 12 September 2022) and 14 February (deadline 21 March 2022) respectively. The LEADER programme South-West Drenthe also has a second application round, starting on 9 May (deadline 24 October 2022).
- The province of Noord-Holland supports the social-economic development of rural areas in the northern most part of the province (deadline 10 February 2022).
- Oost-Groningen focuses on liveability and a stronger economy (deadline 24 February 2022).
- Zuid-Holland’s LEADER programme is based on the plans of local action groups Holland Rijnland and Polders met Waarden (deadline 28 November 2022).
- Friesland has four LEADER programmes, namely Northwest Fryslân and Northeast Fryslân for the general improvement of liveability in rural areas (deadline 9 June 2022); and Northwest Fryslân and Northeast Fryslân cooperation projects (deadline 31 December 2022).
- Utrecht has three schemes related to innovative initiatives within the rural economy, called Weidse Veenweiden; Utrecht Oost; and Polders met Waarden in Vijfheerenlanden (deadline 31 December 2022).
- In Gelderland the programmes Achterhoek implementation and Achterhoek cooperation activities re-open on 1 January 2022 with a new budget of €826,000. The grant comprises 50% of eligible costs. Projects should be between € 30,000 and € 120,000 (deadline 31 December 2022).
- Limburg funds projects that implement the Local Development Strategy (LOS) for the National Landscape of South Limburg (deadline 31 December 2022).
- Overijssel has four schemes, namely for the areas North Overijssel; Northeast Overijssel; Salland; and Southeast Twente (deadline 31 December 2022).
- Zeeland currently has two schemes, one for central and northern Zeeland; and one for Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (deadline 31 December 2022).
As the above overview demonstrates, POP3+ offers a wide range of opportunities. To help you identify those opportunities that are most relevant for you, we give the following suggestions.
|Investing in sustainability and greening, as well as economic growth||Theme 1|
|Non-productive investments in nature realisation and restauration||Theme 2|
|Non-productive investments in water quality||Theme 3
|Bringing innovative ideas closer to the market in collaboration with other partners||Theme 4|
Do you have an innovative concept or investment that might be eligible for POP3+? Or are you planning to implement nature restoration measures in one of the above provinces? Then contact us today to explore the possibilities.
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