150 mln euros in payments for agriculture and environment fields, till June 30

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Some 200,000 farmers will receive till June 30 this year, in the agricultural and environment payments framework afferent to 2008, the total amount of 150 million euros, announced on Monday, in a press conference, Mihai Constantinescu, EU programmes adviser with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (MAPDR).

During the presentation conference of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report on with high natural value (HNV) farmland in Romania and Bulgaria, MAPDR adviser stressed that the agricultural and environmental payments seek to compensate income losses suffered by the farmers practicing an extensive farming, compatible with environment protection, including of bio-diversity, water, soil and landscape.

In other words, those who practice traditional farming methods, do not use chemical fertilizers and respect nature.

„Continuation of traditional farming practices is a guarantee for maintaining animal and plant species diversity, of habitats of European and national interest in these zones”, underlined Luminita Tanasie, coordinator of WWF Romania branch.

She also pointed out that WWF report, funded by the European Commission, seeks to promote agricultural zones with high natural value in Romania and Bulgaria, of the respective cultural and natural values, as well as farmers’ encouragement to continue traditional farming methods and, last but not least, to facilitate access on the market of the respective domestic farming products.

„We are about to lose something extremely valuable and irreplaceable. Romania is an extraordinary country for many reasons and one of them is existence in a very great number of the high natural value farming zones, with fantastic landscapes and unique traditional farming products”, said Mark Redman, WWF consultant and author of the report on HNV.

WWF consultant appreciated that these zones threatened with disappearance are already targeted by the Ministry of Agriculture, where „the level of grasping the issue and support are amid the highest in Europe”.

WWF report recommendations have in view both the development of the market for farming products from HNV zones and the attraction of political and public support.

According to the report, Romania has one of the richest resources of semi-natural pastures still existing in Europe, recognized as HNV pastures and with a large bio- diversity.

Romania is also staking on its National Rural Development Programme (PNDR) 2007-20 13 for accessing the European Fund for Agriculture and Rural development which, through Measure 214 Agri-Environmental Payments, grants to small farmers non-repayable financial aid.

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