24 April 2020 News

Facing COVID-19: the measures taken by Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region

Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region has adopted a €73 million emergency response plan to deal with the evolution of the socio-economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. With regard to the agriculture, agri-food, aquaculture and fisheries sectors, the Region has intervened by adopting measures to deal with cash flow difficulties, to stimulate investment and also to maintain economic activities by helping them to comply with the new health and hygiene provisions. 

Cash-flow difficulties

In this context, regional aid is intended to supplement exceptional measures taken by the State (solidarity fund, loan guarantees, redundancy fund, deferral of tax and social security contributions, etc.).

1) The State-Region Solidarity Fund

This solidarity fund, set up by the State with the Regions, aims to support very small enterprises (VSEs). It consists of a section managed by the State, which may amount to up to €6 500 per company. This fund is aimed in particular at VSEs with 10 employees or fewer, with an annual turnover of less than €1 million and an annual taxable profit of less than €60 000 in the last financial year for which the accounts have been closed. The aid will be paid to firms which have been subject to administrative closure or have lost more than 50% of their turnover in March 2020 compared with March 2019. Companies will be eligible for aid equal to the loss of turnover in March 2020 compared to March 2019, up to a maximum of €1 500. More information here (FR).

Companies severely affected will be able to apply for additional aid, managed by the Region. The amount of the aid is between €2.000 and €5.000, depending on the size and situation of the company. More information here (FR).

2) The support fund for associations

Associations active in the agriculture, fishing and aquaculture sectors with less than 50 employees, having recorded a loss of activity linked to the Covid-19 crisis, will benefit from a subsidy of between €1500 and €20.000 corresponding to 50% of the cash requirement for the month in which the need for cash is greatest.

3) The loan fund for VSEs and SMEs

Small and medium-sized food-processing companies and agricultural activities relating to seasonal production such as oyster farming, horticulture, lamb, kid, strawberries and asparagus, if they have been established for more than a year, can request a zero-interest loan, without guarantee, from a bank, between €10.000 and €300.000 over a period of 7 years, of which 2 years are deferred.

4) The emergency support fund for companies

In order to cope with the loss of activities linked to the COVID 19 epidemic, the Region has set up a grant of 100% of the net cash requirement retained, allocated primarily in the form of a subsidy of €10.000 to €100.000 for companies with 5 to 50 employees, or an interest-free loan of €100.000 to €500.000 for companies with 51 to 250 employees.

5) Suspension of loan repayment deadlines

The Region has automatically suspended the due dates for the repayment of loans granted by the Region for one year from 12 March 2020, as well as recovery or legal action against companies and associations.

6) Cancelled or postponed events

On a case-by-case basis, down payments or advances paid or to be paid for operations not carried out or postponed may be maintained to cover costs already incurred.

Changes in the conditions for granting regional and European aid

With regard to aids already granted (regional aid, aid under the EAFRD rural development programmes, aid under operational programmes, aid under the EMFF), an extension of the deadlines has been adopted. In addition, following a justified request to the Region's departments, payments in the framework of regional aid and aid under the Operational Programs ERDF-ESF (excluding aid under the RDPs and the EAFRD), will be speeded up.

In order to support all new projects, the Region has established the simplification of administrative procedures (for example, the possibility of digital signatures of agreements and decrees implementing aid) and the postponement of the closure dates for calls for projects.

In addition, in order to promote access to credit in the agricultural and agri-food sector, Nouvelle Aquitaine has created a public guarantee called Alter'NA, a development or investment loan on preferential terms for agricultural and agri-food transition projects, of which farmers, farmers' groups and agri-food businesses (in organic production mode) will be the beneficiaries. 

In conclusion, despite the confinement, the AREA and HVE environmental certification procedures carried out by the Region will continue at a distance.  

Sale of products

1) Solidarity platform for local products from Nouvelle Aquitaine

A solidarity platform for bringing together producers and consumers has been set up by the Region and the Nouvelle Aquitaine Food Agency (ANAA). It also enables local initiatives to be relayed throughout New Aquitaine.

2) " Drive des familles " (Family Drive)

The Region, in partnership with the ACENA association (the association of Managers of High-schools in Nouvelle-Aquitaine), has set up a "Drive des familles" experiment in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department.

This action "From canteen to families" aims to bring closer inhabitants in the surroundings of high schools with the supply circuits usually dedicated to school canteens in order to find outlets for local farmers whose contracts have been interrupted due to the closure of the establishments. Agricultural products will be delivered to the school grounds. This system is gradually being extended throughout the territory of New Aquitaine.

More information : Opération « Approvisionnement local des lycées: Des cantines aux familles» (FR)

Promotion of regional products

The Region and its Food Agency (AANA) have launched a geo-localized digital communication campaign to encourage the consumption of local products.

In addition, in order to remedy the cancellation of all trade fairs and agri-food events in 2020 and to enable companies to promote their products on the markets, AANA has set up a support fund to offer companies the opportunity to participate free of charge in collective B to B operations, in digital or adapted format.

More information :

Emergency Plan of Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region (FR)

Coronavirus – Plusieurs mesures au profit des entreprises et des associations (FR)