Τhe main target groups are a. Paying agencies, b. agricultural consultants, c. farmers and farmers’ collective entities
Paying Agencies are established in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulations (EC) 908/2014and 907/2014. Paying Agencies are departments or bodies in the Member States responsible for the management and control of expenditure of the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). With the exception of payments, all other tasks may be delegated. Member States have accredited as Paying Agencies departments or bodies which have an administrative organisation and a system of internal control which provide sufficient guarantees that payments are legally consistent and regular, and properly accounted for. However, where Paying Agencies have been established at a regional level, Member States have, in addition, either accredited a Paying Agency at a national level for aid schemes which, by their nature, are managed at a national level or have conferred the management of these schemes on their regional Paying Agencies.
Agricultural consulting services offered in the EU refer to advices on holdings’ development, promoting and trading products, compliance to national and European legislation, implementation of CAP requirements, monitoring of farms, environmental adaptation, new technologies, training and education etc. Advisory services are mainly offered by the private sector (private companies or freelancers), whilst in some countries the services are offered for free by the public sector or agricultural chambers.
In the EU the most frequent collective entities in the agricultural sector are agricultural cooperatives, farmers’ unions, national and regional federations and agricultural chambers, which mainly act as a liaison between them and public authorities, ministries, chambers of different sectors, European authorities etc. The level of organization of these entities among the EU countries is varied. Indicatively, Danish, Dutch, Belgian, French and Italian cooperatives have a strong presence in Europe, although, in some European countries the degree of famers’ organisation is still at a low level e.g. Greece and Romania.
RECAP Network of interest refers to a community of groups and individuals representing major stakeholders, not only paying agencies, agri-consultants and farmers’ organisations, but also governmental and non-governmental organizations, private companies and academic / research institutions, collective bodies and scientific communities at a local, regional and national level, that share a common interest related to the RECAP project, as well as the CAP and environmental protection, remote sensing and information and communication technologies.