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Discussion with Edvardas Makelis, Director of the Lithuanian Agricultural Advisory Service (Project Partner)

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recap-bullet-3  What is going to be your input as a partner in the RECAP project?
We are a large (over 400 employees) enterprise of independent professional agricultural specialists and advisers, which is the closest to farmers and their needs by everyday work. We are very interested in the RECAP project results. As a project partner, we see our contribution to the project by both checking/testing a tool created and helping farmers to master its application and thus popularise/publicise the project result.

recap-bullet-3  What will make you proud by the end of the project?
We have to note that the Advisory Service has relatively little experience in international project activities designed for cooperation with state authorities, including those from other countries. Most often we participate in the projects in which research and business entities of different countries create services or tools. Therefore, we appreciate this project as very useful experience of international cooperation, in particular, with state authorities.

recap-bullet-3  What aspects of the cross-compliance scheme do you aspire RECAP to reinforce?
We would stress a provision that the cross-compliance scheme is not a set of means to punish, but to act purposefully, that the provisions of sustainability,cost-effectiveness and climate change mitigation should be adopted and implemented reasonably. We hope, that the tool will both contribute to the overall awareness of farmers regarding the Common Agricultural Policy and promote their computer literacy skills.

recap-bullet-3  What opportunities do you foresee through the RECAP project?
The Advisory Service can be proud of having contributed in the promotion of on-line services in the agricultural sector. We have developed the integrated farm management programme e-GEBA, the integrated plant protection management system and e-learning platform IKMIS as well as a computerised farm assessment programmeused by advisers and farmers. We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve and digitise our services. We believe that RECAP will act as an extension to the electronic services that we provide.

recap-bullet-3  What makes RECAP an innovative project?
While evaluating changes and the speed of developments in technology, very often we observe that in the innovation development field different countries demonstrate the efforts of creating electronic tools to be used in their particular countries. On very rare occasions innovators, busy in their creation of electronic tools, think about the potentially centralised systems that would enable comparison of certain agricultural criteria on the EU scale. We are seeing positive uniqueness of this project in the scope of application of its results – it is a big ambition. And, if there is a stable background to realise this idea and a possibility of developing it later – it will certainly be a great achievement.

recap-bullet-3  What are the strengths of the RECAP consortium?
One of the key reasons for the strength of the consortium is its Leader – Draxis. Their professional work inspires us to participate in the project activities as actively as possible. Therefore, we refer to this project very often in our country, as one of the most successful international project experiences. In working and communicating with other partners – their professionalism. And we clearly understand the contribution and importance of each partner in the project.

edvardas_makelis_laasrecap-bullet-3  Why do you think that the RECAP platform will facilitate compliance with CAP obligations?
Having worked in the field of agricultural extension for more than 20 years, we can assure you that farmers are not purposeful offenders of requirements or ignorers of their obligations. Their behaviour is often influenced by the lack of time, resources or even certain knowledge. This project will create the possibility to use popular modern tools for implementing/complying with not very popular requirements. Knowing farmers’ receptivity to digital technologies and taking into account excellent internet connection in rural areas of Lithuania, we believe that the project will contribute to the popularisation of the Common Agricultural Policy provisions, which mainly substantiate the provisions of the sustainable, economically viable and environmentally friendly farm.

recap-bullet-3  In what way does the RECAP project contributes to safeguarding the environment?
RECAP platform will contribute to the protection of water and biodiversity, good agricultural and environmental condition and the implementation of greening requirements. Farmers will be able to see whether their fields include protected areas, what restrictions are applied, therefore, they will know exactly what they can do and what not (e. g., whether to plough up the grassland, or apply mineral or organic fertiliser). They will see what distance they should observe before sowing near a water source bank. If farmers use the platform in a fair way, their farms will both meet the cross-compliance requirements and contribute to the environment preservation.

recap-bullet-3  How will RECAP make more efficient the “on the spot” checks?
We expect efficiency. Of course, it might happen that the tool created will not be practical or “comfortable” for inspectors immediately, and therefore, on the spot checks will take place. But we sincerely hope, that after having tested the tool it will be used in the future in at least 80% of checks.

recap-bullet-3  What do farmers have to enjoy through the RECAP project?
We hope that the tool created during the project will enable farmers to be defended better against inspectors, i. e. recorded material will demonstrate important facts and it is likely that the tool will be used. I would like to point out that the condition of the project result popularity is measures to assist in the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy, and not the instrument to punish farmers.

For more information on the Lithuanian Agricultural Advisory Service
visit their website