Todays Date
December 7, 2021

Farmers left without subsidies

The payment of subsidies remains one of the biggest secrets in the country. None of the competent institutions publicly announces how much money is paid for subsidies

The state owes some farmers subsidies for 2012. At governmental institutions there is silence on how many farmers have not been paid and how much money they owe

“This year 140 million Euros are projected for farmers”. Listening to this sentence in the media, Stojan Mitkov from Kocani cannot remain indifferent. He does not know whether to rejoice or mourn. He is glad if the money for agricultural subsidies is increased, but what is the point when the state fails to pay, complains Mitkov.

“Subsidies have not been paid for 2012, and for 2013 I have not taken a penny. About 4,000 Euros are to be paid for two years. I have 6 cows and work on around 80 acres of land. Now I was told that during the campaign they would not pay subsidies”, added Mitkov.

Similar is the story of the small farmer Vlasto from Pishica, Probishtip who has calculated exactly how much money is owed to him from unpaid subsidies.

“I have 5 cows, and about 10 acres of land. For the cows I am to take around 15,000 denars for subsidies, and another 5,000 denars for milk delivered to dairies. I have not taken subsidies since 2012, let alone 2013”.

From the Farmers’ Federation they do not have a record of how many farmers have not been paid for 2012. They say that they mediate if a member complains about receiving no subsidies.

Hundreds, and perhaps thousands of farmers share the destiny of these farmers, but there is no data about their number.

Subsidies – mystery to the public

The payment of subsidies remains one of the biggest secrets in the country. None of the competent institutions publicly announces how much money is paid for subsidies. Inbox sought answers for the payment of subsidies from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, the Agency for Financial Support of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance, but until the publication of this topic we got no response.

Professors, analysts and agro-economists we consulted have also had problems with providing data about payment of subsidies in agriculture.

Dr. Boris Anakiev, former professor of the Department of Agro economy at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food in Skopje is revolted by closing the data by Ministries and the Government.

“I have been asking the ministries and government institutions for years about the amount of money paid and for which products, but so far I have not received such information”, complains Anakiev.

He adds that he has performed some lump sum analysis for the payment of subsidies through the budget final account, but it cannot be considered transparent operation.

The closure of institutions for information on the payment of subsidies “is done intentionally to hide where the money for subsidies is spent“, says an agribusiness expert for Inbox on condition of anonymity.

He adds that with the amendments to the Law on Agriculture and Rural Development, unlike before, when the Parliament wore the National Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development 2007-2013 and imposed the Government where and how much to subsidize agricultural production, now everything is in the hands of the executive power. It is the government which proposes, adopts and executes the subsidies without any public accountability of the RM Parliament.

That change has deliberately been made to cover where and by what measures money is spent from the ‘agriculture budget’. The only accountability before the parliament is given for the IPARD program because the EU requires it, says our source, the author of several laws of the agricultural sector.

No money for subsidies

For the farmer Mitkov, the major cause of unpaid subsidies for 2012 is that the state has no money to pay.

A similar opinion about unpaid subsidies has the former senior official in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.

“I think the government has no money to pay the subsidies and therefore they are delayed, that is why these people mentioned in the text did not receive subsidies for 2012”, he said.

Riste Velkov, president of the farmers’ association Agrosojuz from Strumica has the same attitude regarding the payment of subsidies.

“Last year in November subsidies were paid for 2011 in Strumica, although legally the state is obligated by June 30 the following year to pay the subsidies. I think the budget has no money to pay the farmers and for any significant payment of state subsidies and pensions it borrows”, says Velkov.

With a radical solution he called on farmers to sue the state if they have unpaid subsidies for 2012, or if the state delays payment of subsidies for 2013 after 30 June 2014. Legal responsibility of the Ministry of Finance is to pay the subsidies for the current year by June 30 the following year.

Analysis of the budget final account

According to the analyses by professor Anakiev, just in the past three years over 100 million Euros were more planned than realized assets. So in 2010, 2011 and 2012, 338 million Euros were total planned and 237 million Euros were paid.

The greatest deviation from the planned and realized money was in 2011 when 110 million Euros were planned and only 65 million were paid, which represents a deviation of even 45 million Euros.

In 2010 the budget planned 99 million Euros, but 79 million Euros were spent or 19.6 million Euros less. In 2012 the budget projected 128 million Euros, but 92 million Euros were paid or 35.3 million Euros less.

Funds paid for subsidies under the final accounts of the RM budget (in millions of Euros)

Year

Planned

Paid

Deviation

Deviation in %

2010

99,4

79,8

19,6

19,7%

2011

110,5

65,1

45,4

41%

2012

128,1

92,8

35,3

28%

Total

338

237,7

100,3

30%

 Source: Budget final accounts for 2010, 2011 and 2012

Editor: Tamara Causidis