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PERTE Agro-Food: How to get access to European funding?

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One billion euros by 2023 to transform the agri-food sector and boost small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and make a quality leap. The new strategic project for the recovery and economic transformation (PERTE) of the agri-food sector, a tool created by the government to coordinate public-private cooperation, will receive capital from the European fund “Next Generation EU” for programs to increase competitiveness and provide digitization , sustainability and traceability of this industry, which includes all types of businesses, from a sheep farm to a packaging plant or a national distributor. More than 95% of these companies are SMEs and a large proportion operate in rural areas, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The actual effect of this PERTE

Anna Merino, Director of Economics at Strategy&, the Strategic Consulting practice of PwC Spain, who will attend webinar PERTE Agro-Food: How can your business benefit from European subsidies?organized by HUB Empresa of Banco Sabadell, points out: “The grants from the European fund Next Generation EU must help to strengthen the development of the food chain and provide it with the necessary tools to face the environmental, digital, social and economic Challenges to face challenges of the next decade”.

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Daniel García, head of the Andalusia and Extremadura offices of the consultancy Zabala Innovation and expert in European funds, explains that the purpose of PERTE in the agri-food sector is to modernize this industry, which represents almost 10% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP ).

Thereby PERTE, with a minimum burden of 3,000 million euros in the national accounts and with the creation of 16,000 new jobs, according to estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, a model resilient to cyclical fluctuations such as those derived from the situation caused by the health crisis which, in the words of Fernando Ortega, President of the Commission for Agri-Food Industry of the College of Agricultural Engineers of Catalonia, represented a “challenge for the whole sector and especially for SMEs”. The expert assures: “Our companies have demonstrated resilience and flexibility and have adapted to extreme conditions such as market supply, mobility restrictions, personnel training or tense logistics chains.”

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This PERTE focuses on the two main axes of the European fund Next Generation EU: Digitization – with the provision of tools to promote e-commerce and omnichannel – and Sustainability – with renewable energy supply and alignment to the Green Deal ( European Green Deal in Spanish ) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—. This plan co-exists in harmony and complements other European aids such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) or the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and Community policies such as the common agricultural policy (PAC).

Specific programs for SMEs

The PERTE of the agricultural and food industry offers a variety of plans and concrete measures SMEs get access to European help. These are the most outstanding programs:

  • digital kit. This program offers SMEs and freelancers assistance in improving their online presence with e-commerce tools, social networks and data analysis. It also promotes the digitization of its processes and workplaces, as well as the introduction of cybersecurity measures, among other solutions, Details by Merino. It is expected that of the 3,067 million euros that the European Union (EU) has endowed it with, around 275 million euros will be allocated to the agri-food sector, with bonuses that will range between 2,000 and 12,000 euros.
  • agents of change. Complementing the Digital Kit, this plan provides SMEs in the agri-food sector with agents to advise, teach and accompany them in the digitization process: “These agents train and guide farmers or ranchers on how to improve their use with new tools”, summarizes Garcia together. It is estimated that of the €300 million that the EU has allocated to this programme, around €37 million will go to the agri-food sector.
  • Renewable energy. For primary generation and conversion SMEs, there are various renewable energy sources whose installation is subsidized by this PERTE. The range is wide, as the amount of aid depends on size and activity. An example are the photovoltaic modules that are already installed in water tanks for irrigation. They are placed on rafts floating on the surface of the deposit, a way of capturing energy without occupying land: “Promote the Self-sufficiency energetic through these pumps is very interesting given the current energy prices,” adds García.
  • Agriculture and Livestock 4.0. Funding for the sensorization and automation of agricultural and animal processes, the introduction of robotics, the implementation of artificial vision systems in production processes, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and the simulation of processes or digitization measures to improve the efficiency of processes, such as Merino insured.
  • Management of by-products and animal waste. Subsidies for the reuse of animal waste and its conversion into green energy such as biogas – fuel for which there is also a specific roadmap in this PERTE – intended to provide heat or electricity to farms.

Driving projects and opportunities for SMEs

In addition to the specific plans for SMEs, PERTE has several projects that reach all levels of industry and make up a large part of the budget. These projects account for 400 million euros of the total amount of 1,000 million euros. They are born with a demonstrative purpose: they first promote a concrete change and, after confirmed success, serve as a mirror for the other actors to start. Although these programs are usually driven by large companies with a national reach, García explains that SMEs can also benefit: “They offer business opportunities to these types of companies, either as subcontractors or through smaller projects derived from the original.”

Examples of these measures are the massive digitization of the wine sector with the use of satellites and data in the production of grapes and wine, or the transformation of the pig industry that uses technologies to improve animal welfare: “There are transformative projects to promote, in which different Links in the food chain work together with a broad vision and focus on consumer needs. By 2050, 10,000 million people in the world need to be fed, and that needs to be a clear goal,” argues Ortega.

Access to European funds

Carmen ElsterDirector of European Funds at Banco Sabadell, who will also attend the webinar, stresses that SMEs should first analyze their needs and shortcomings, and then seek professional help to find the program that best suits their business. “Companies have to think about what projects they want to commit to transforming their business and making it more resilient.”

A key factor for Urraca is figuring out which grants are most appropriate for each SME based on industry, location, activity and other business criteria.

Public institutions play a crucial role. “The impact of PERTE will be real, although its magnitude will largely depend on the application and what it is accessibility to European funds‘ warns Ortega. As García indicates: “The food clusters, located in the ministries of agriculture, give simple and clear information”.

The fluidity in financing, cash advance and logistics, processes that are often complex when unknown, are facilitated by the intervention of third parties, such as B. banks, easier. For this reason, it is advisable to seek professional advice, for example from specialized consultants who will accompany organizations throughout the process of planning projects and applying for the European Next Generation EU Fund.

This might interest you: Banco Sabadell helps you discover the keys to the European fund Next Generation EU

Source elpais.com

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