16 April 2020 News

Facing Covid-19: the measures taken by Occitanie Region

This article is part of a series dedicated to share the measure taken by AREPO member Regions to face the negative effects of covid-19 on agri-food sector. In this difficult and unprecedented moments, AREPO wants to support its members facilitating exchanges and cooperation. If you want to share the good practices of your Region, please write an email to info@arepoquality.eu

To face the health crisis of Covid-19, the Occitanie Region adopted the Regional Emergency Plan setting up several support mechanisms for the agri-food sector.

Liquidity problems

To deal with liquidity problems, agri-food businesses with financial commitments to the Region benefit from postponements or exemptions from deadlines. In details, this means that the repayment of repayable advances is freeze for a period of 6 months from 1 April and that companies housed by nurseries in the Region are exempted from paying rents for 3 months.

In addition, Occitanie guarantees facilitated access to loans (The Regional Bank Guarantee Fund of Occitanie; The Occitanie Rebound Loan against Coronavirus; The COVID-19 Cash Crisis Company Contract) and has created the Occitanie Exceptional Solidarity Fund, for companies with less than 10 employees. In addition, the Region invites companies and farms benefiting from temporary lay-off to take advantage of the drop in activity to train their employees by signing up to the "Train rather than lay off" plan in order to develop their skills and prepare for economic recovery.

Pursuing investments

In the framework of aids financed by the Region and/or co-financed by the EAFRD, all those wishing to continue or make new investments to adapt to the new context will benefit from changes in the conditions for granting aid if the investments are suspended or if there are delays in the work.

In order to continue an investment plan or carry out emergency investments during the crisis period, the Region is mobilising €15 million for the "Pass Rebond Occitanie" measure, which provides for:

  • An increase in the maximum amount of subsidy from €20,000 to €200,000;
  • A subsidy rate of 50% for all sectors, increasing in particular in the agricultural, food-processing, forest/wood and agro-tourism sectors;
  • An advance of 50% on signature of the decree or agreement granting the aid.

Finding new local markets to maintain its activity

The Occitanie Region has supported its producers and retailers, notably by creating "Solidarité Occitanie Alimentation", a digital platform for referencing local producers who are able to make local deliveries. Through this tool, the Region wishes to help producers and retailers of the regional food sector to maintain their activity as well as to allow citizens to consume local and fresh food. In addition, a B2B version of the platform allows to connect regional distributors and producers with the capacity to deliver, thus ensuring outlets and continuity of supply, especially of fresh products (https://solidarite-occitanie-alimentation.fr/referencement-producteur-pour-les-commercants/).

To encourage initiatives for the distribution of local products to private homes, farmers and farm managers wishing to set up a delivery round can benefit from support for the delivery of local food products, i.e. a flat-rate subsidy on the cost of transporting goods up to 80 euros per week of confinement.

Finally, in order to ensure the continuity of regional food aid, food aid structures benefit from support for the continuity and solidarity supply of local food to the most deprived. Projects to link food aid structures and production, enabling the supply of fresh regional and seasonal products and the avoidance of losses and wastage due to lack of markets, will be promoted.

For more information:

Plan régional d'urgence sanitaire, économique et solidaire (8 april 2020) (FR)

https://www.laregion.fr/Continuez-a-consommer-local-passez-par-la-plateforme-regionale (FR) (26 march 2020)

https://www.laregion.fr/La-plateforme-Solidarite-Occitanie-Alimentation-plebiscitee (FR) (31 march 2020)