Urgent measures to support the agricultural sector to alleviate the economic effects of the drought
Since last September 30, 2021, rainfall throughout Spain has been almost 40 percent less than the normal value. So much so that the peninsular hydraulic reserve was 40 percent less than the average of the last 5 years. In many areas of Spain, such as the Guadalquivir, Guardiana, or La Mancha basin, among others, the situation is especially critical. The drought affects rainfed and irrigated crops and livestock, both due to insufficient dammed water to meet the demand for irrigation, as well as the scarcity of reserves in the aquifers that provide water for irrigation, and obviously, by the natural contribution to the crops.
To the extreme conditions that the agricultural sector has been suffering as a consequence of climate change, we must add the increase in production costs, energy costs and the situation in Ukraine, which They are generating an extremely serious situation that threatens the economic viability of many farms and their very existence as productive units. This seriously affects the economy of essentially agricultural and livestock regions, but also many other areas that depend directly or indirectly on the primary sector.
The current situation of the sector is aggravated by the drought of this rainy year, which has forced the public authorities to adopt measures to curb this situation, which are included, among others, in Royal Decree-Law 4/2022, of March 15, which approves a series of urgent measures to support the agricultural sector due to the drought.
The Royal Decree also includes exceptional administrative measures necessary for the management of hydraulic resources that make it possible to offset the effects of drought, and support measures for holders of rights to use water water for irrigation included in the affected areas.
Content number I provides for the improvement in the allocation of the Combined Agricultural Insurance Plan as the first response mechanism to the existing situation. An important novelty is the creation of a financing line through subsidized, non-refundable credits, and certain actions in relation to the CAP.
In the field of Social Security, companies included in the special system for workers by Agrarian Employee Account, and in the RETA, that are up to date with their obligations with the Social Security may request a deferral in the payment of quotas.
The number of working days is reduced from 35 to 30 so that temporary workers in the Autonomous Communities of Andalusia and Extremadura can receive unemployment benefits and agricultural income. In turn, the hiring of intermittent permanent workers and temporary hiring are equated, for the purposes of access and determination of the right to the subsidies indicated above. Discontinuous permanent workers who are in the special agricultural regime in Andalusia and Extremadura may be considered discontinuous permanent workers for the purposes of unemployment protection, as long as they meet the requirements established for each case.
Another measure that should be noted is the 20 percent reduction in the year 2021, of the net income calculated by the objective estimation method in personal income tax and in the simplified VAT regime for agricultural activities, which only had a precedent with the COVID-19 health crisis in 2020.
Article 5 of the regulation provides for the exemption of the IBI corresponding to the year 2022 for those real estate properties owned by the owners of agricultural or livestock farms, and which are subject to the development of the activity. In addition, those taxpayers who, despite being entitled to the exemption, have paid the receipts corresponding to the year 2022, may request a refund of the amounts paid. This loss of income that the town halls, island councils, councils, etc. will suffer, will be compensated by charging the General State Budget.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food makes available to affected agricultural operators a help line called “Línea Ico Mapa Saeca”, with the in order to strengthen the viability and normal operation of the farms affected with a limit of 10 percent of the principal of the loan or 10,000 euros of accumulated aid for the operations of the same client.
Regarding the financing through guarantees of agricultural holdings, the Ministry of Agriculture may establish within its powers lines of financing of 2.7 million euros, in which it will subsidize, in the direct concession regime, the cost of the guarantees of the State Public Limited Company of Agrarian Surety (SAECA).
Some affordable rates are established by irrigation users for desalinated water in the IDAMs and in the pipes that must save through elevations a large difference in height between the origin of the resource and demand destination.
This package of urgent measures will be in force until December 21, 2022.
It may interest you: “Departamento especializado en Derecho Agrario“