There are 100 million funds for the forest, but only 10 million investment intentions
The National Association of Forestry, Agriculture and Environment Companies (ANEFA) says there is a “lack of credibility” and that “as long as this form of project validation is maintained, companies and associations are very reluctant to prepare any application”.
On 24 March, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action launched five announcements supporting investment in forestry under Operation 8.1.1 of the Rural Development Programme (RDP 2020). 100 million to support investment in afforestation of non-agricultural land, reforestation of burnt areas, prevention of forest against biotic agents and improvement of the resilience, environmental value and economic value of forests. The level of support ranged from 65% to 90%, depending on the type of operation, the typology of the beneficiaries and the location of the investments.
After the deadlines, the 100 million was far from exhausted. 79 applications were submitted, which only include intentions to invest a total of “10.1 million euros”, confirmed the source of the Ministry of João Pedro Matos Fernandes to the PUBLIC. More than 220 applications are “under pre-registration on the platform”.
Asked about the reasons for the extension of the application deadlines, meanwhile, an official source from the Ministry of the Environment explained that “the five announcements in question were launched during the state of emergency, decreed due to the international public health emergency caused by Covid-19 disease”.
However, “despite this situation, which we knew could compromise the necessary steps for the preparation and submission of applications, such as the visit to the field by the promoters and consultants, given the much technical and administrative work that was already being done and the convenience of disseminating the funding conditions to the promoters, it was decided not to postpone its launch, admitting immediately its extension if the situation of emergency and calamity was prolonged, as it happened”, says the Ministry.
Thus, “although the number of applications submitted increased significantly after the transition from a state of emergency to a state of calamity, the extension of deadlines proved necessary, as was the case with many other state support”, added the same source.
The Ministry under the authority of João Matos Fernandes makes a point of “mentioning that these supports foresee two phases of candidatures, which will take place sequentially (ending in October/November according to the operations)”. This will mean that “a lower demand at this moment, besides being considered natural and understandable, considering the situation the country is going through, may be compensated until the end of the application period”. Furthermore, “the history of these programmes shows that the vast majority of applications come at the end of the submission period”.
The overall allocation of EUR 100 million is intended to support investment in afforestation of non-agricultural land, reforestation of burnt areas, prevention of forest against biotic agents and improvement of the resilience and economic value of forests. ANDRÉ RODRIGUES…