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 Friesland, from April onwards, funding can be requested for physical investments in making farms more sustainable and ensuring water quality (deadline October 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 (closed).
- From 4 May 2022 onwards, two new schemes will open in Gelderland: professionalisation of short supply chains (i.e., chains with a single link between producer and buyer, for example of a regional product; closed); and innovative cooperation projects within the agricultural sector that have a positive impact on nature, biodiversity, and the climate (closed). From 7 April onwards, funding is also available for the relocation of mushroom farms to the Velddriel glasshouse development area (closed).
- Within the province of Limburg, funding can be requested for physical investments in innovation and modernisation of agricultural enterprises, and cooperation for innovation (deadline 15 December 2022).
- In North Brabant, funding is available to organise training, workshops, entrepreneurial coaching, and demonstrations for the benefit of agrofood. 80% of eligble project costs will be funded, with a maximum amount of €500,000 (closed).
- In Drenthe, funding can be requested for the implementation of innovation projects in the so-called ‘peat colonies’ by a partnership (closed).
- In the province of North Holland, as of April 19, funding can be requested for the improvement of the parcel structure of farms 2022. The money can be spent on implementation, but also on planning or creating support for the implementation (closed).
- Within the Province of Zeeland, agricultural businesses can request funding for physical investments in modern installations and machinery with the aim of impoving the environment, climate resilience, public health, and biodiversity (deadline 31 October 2022).
2. Nature and Landscape
The grants 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 Flevoland, from June 6 onwards financing can be requested for Non-productive Investments in biodiversity, nature, landscape and hydrological measures Nitrogen in the context of fish migration (closed).
- 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 (closed). Also, starting in September, it is possible to apply for funding for Agricultural Nature and Landscape Management 2023-2028 (deadline October 2022).
- From 31 January 2022 onwards, funding can be requested within the province of Zeeland for non-productive investments for biodiversity, nature, and landscape (closed).
- As of 18 April 2022, funding can be requested within the province of Overijssel for non-productive investments for biodiversity, nature, landscape, and hydrological measures related to nitrogen for the benefit of Natura 2000 (closed).
- Also in the province of Noord-Brabant, from 16 May onwards, funding can be requested for non-productive investments in the restoration of nature and biodiversity (closed).
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 June 2022 onwards, funding can be requested in Friesland for achieving the Climate and Water Framework Directive goals (deadline September 2022); and from October also for Restoring Watercourses and Water Framework Directive goals (deadline November 2022).
- Within the Province of Limburg, from 15 August onwards, (consortia comprising) farmers, landowners, land users, agricultural organisations, nature and landscape organisations, provinces, water boards, and/or municipalities can request funding for non-productive investments in water (closed).
- Within the Province of Zeeland. agricultural businesses can request funding for physical investments in modern installations and machinery with the aim of working towards the more sustainable use of groundwater and water management (deadline 31 October 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 (closed) and 14 February (closed) respectively. The LEADER programme South-West Drenthe also has a second application round, starting on 9 May (closed).
- Oost-Groningen focuses on social cohesion, a stronger economy, and (agro)tourism infrastructure. There is a national and a European variant. A tender is open for both schemes with interim deadlines on 18 May, 31 August, and 2 November 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 three active LEADER programmes, namely Northeast Fryslân for the general improvement of liveability in rural areas (closed); 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). In addition, funding is also available for the writing of a new LOS and to set up a Local Action Group (LAG) in South Limburg, Weerterland, Bergen, Gennep, Mook, and Middelaar (deadline 7 December 2022).
- Overijssel has four schemes, namely for the areas North Overijssel; Northeast Overijssel; Salland; and Southeast Twente (deadline 31 December 2022). In addition, as of April 2, funding can be requested to set up local action groups and prepare a local development strategy, both for the new LEADER programma 2023-2027 (closed).
- Zeeland currently has two schemes, one for central and northern Zeeland; and one for Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (deadline 31 December 2022).
- The province of Brabant offers funding for the local development of rural areas in North Brabant (deadline 7 November 2022).
- In the province of Noord-Holland, funding is available for local initiatives that fit within the themes of circular economy (including circular agriculture), biobased economy, and sustainable energy; timely anticipation of demographic changes; or expanding and improving (agro)tourism infrastructure (deadline 31 March 2023).
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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