6 May 2020 News

Facing Covid-19: the measures taken by Toscana

Faced with the economic emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Region of Tuscany, following a series of meetings with trade associations, banks and trade unions, conceived a set of interventions aimed at supporting the agri-food sector and laying the foundations for economic recovery.

Liquidity for businesses

The first measures adopted by the Regional Government concerned credit support and liquidity of enterprises. In fact, a moratorium on the payment of instalments of loans granted by regional calls for businesses and liberal professions was approved. Specifically, in order to support liquidity in agriculture, the deadline for payments of the Guarantee Fund ‘Support for liquidity of SME agriculture’ was postponed and its instalments were suspended.

€ 8.5 million for Tuscan agriculture

The Region has allocated € 4 million for farms converting to organic farming.  In order to receive the premium, these companies will have to commit themselves for at least five years to using organic production methods.

In order to mitigate the risk of abandonment of farming in mountain areas and to encourage greater human presence in these areas, a further € 4.5 million has been allocated to support mountain farming. In this case, farmers who undertake to keep agricultural land under cultivation will be eligible for a premium of up to € 150 per hectare.

Finally, with a view to reducing the burden on farmers, a simplified procedure for the allocation of agricultural fuel at reduced excise duty has been accepted.

More information:

Coronavirus, da 31 marzo al via liquidità imprese e domande cassa integrazione in deroga (30 march 2020) (IT)

Coronavirus, sospese rate e prorogati finanziamenti per bandi imprese e liberi professionisti (1 april 2020) (IT)

Aiuti per le aziende agricole in zone montane, da oggi il bando da 4,5 mln è online (9 april 2020) (IT)

Extension of deadlines and simplification of procedures for calls under the Rural Development Programme

The Region has updated the terms of the calls for proposals for the Rural Development Programme, postponed until 30 April. Similarly, it was also decided to postpone the release of the 2014-2020 Rdp EAFRD calls for proposals scheduled for the first half of 2020.

In addition, Artea (the regional Agency for payments in agriculture) has prepared simplified procedures and faster payments for contributions related to the calls of the Rural Development Plan. In consideration of the need to reduce contacts, all the contributions for farmers’ investments, usually granted after a visit to the farm, can be paid after the sole administrative control and through the use of technology, using geo-referenced photos that cannot be modified. Farmers can take this particular type of pictures directly with their smartphones on the farm or in the field and then upload them to the Artea system.

More information:

Programma di sviluppo rurale: proroga dei bandi aperti fino ad aprile 2020 (11 march 2020) (IT)

Coronavirus, procedure più snelle e pagamenti veloci per fondi Piano di sviluppo rurale (16 april 2020) (IT)

Large-scale distribution and local products

In order to support and promote local production and its value chains, the Region met with representatives of the large-scale retail trade and agricultural associations, with the aim of encouraging new partnerships with producers, creating new sales opportunities and encouraging the consumption of fresh products, with particular emphasis on local and certified labels.

These measures added to the invitation to consume local, launched through the social campaign #adottaunproduttoretoscano (let’s adopt a Tuscan producer), and the modification of the Vetrina Toscana website, the project of the Region and Unioncamere Toscana that promotes restaurants and food shops that use local products, as well as real producers. In fact, a special section has been created to bring together restaurants, shops and producers (registered on the site) who carry out home delivery service. 

More information:

Agricoltura, due incontri in Regione per affrontare l’emergenza e programmare il futuro (31 march 2020) (IT)

Coronavirus, assessore Remaschi aderisce a campagna #adottaunproduttoretoscano (6 april 2020) (IT)

Idolweb platform: matching seasonal labour supply and demand

Idolweb platform, created in 2016 at the initiative of the Regional Ministry of Labour and the Regional Ministry of Agriculture to combat illegal hiring and exploitation of workers, will help overcoming the lack of seasonal labour by matching supply and demand.

This tool, which links together the Region of Tuscany, 53 Employment Centres and the Tuscan Regional Employment Agency (ARTI), will allow agricultural enterprises to search and find the seasonal workers they need. By registering on the portal, companies will be able to enter their requests for seasonal workers and send the offer electronically to the Employment Centres, which will then cross the offer with the job requests and applications of unemployed, redundant and inactive people.

Further information: Stagionali, domanda e offerta di lavoro si incontrano sul portale Idolweb (24 april 2020) (IT)

4.3 million euros for floriculture and the sheep and goat milk sector

In Tuscany, the floriculture sector is of considerable importance in terms of business and turnover which have been strongly affected by the “lockdown”. As a matter of fact, the shutdown of the sector has come at the peak of annual activity, when plants are planted for arboriculture and horticultural crops and gardens are renewed, as well as at the crucial moment of domestic purchases of plants for homes.

The sheep and goat’s milk and dairy farming sectors have also recorded lost in sales due to the closure of the Horeca channel and holiday farms and the contraction in consumption of fresh products, with fresh milk and cheeses or non-aged cheeses penalized by spending methods that privilege long-term products. At the time of the seasonal peak of their production, dairy producers complain that they must store the cheese in cells and they must continuously treat it or package it in order to lengthen its period of marketing. In this context, an initial form of support for the supply chain came with the Region’s proposal for forms of public purchase of these products.

Then, in order to support the two sectors, EUR 4.3 million were identified in the budget to be made available in the short term to the floriculture and sheep and goat dairy sector, with appropriate procedures.

Further information: Caseifici, Remaschi incontra i produttori: “La Regione ascolta e sostiene la filiera” (6 april 2020) (IT)

Agreement between the Region and ANCI Toscana to promote the distribution and consumption of quality Tuscan food products.

On April 27, the Regional Council approved an agreement with the Tuscan section of the National Association of Municipalities (ANCI). The agreement aims to promote and enhance the role of excellent agri-food products and Tuscan companies in the supply chain (PDO / PGI, Agriqualità, Km-0, organic, Mountain Product, Traditional Agrifood Products PAT, and other products from the Regional Producers’ Organizations), thanks to the attention of ANCI Tuscany for local products and actions aimed at supporting the economy of the Tuscan territories. The agreement also aims to raise awareness among producers, the distribution system, municipalities and citizens, towards a conscious choice of products, oriented towards quality local Tuscan products

Further information: Coronavirus, accordo con Anci a sostegno di prodotti agroalimentari toscani di qualità (2 may 2020) (IT)

Web show on the good practices of Tuscan consortia

Tuscany has launched a new communication format entitled “#RET: Storie di Resilienza Enogastronomica Toscana”. It is a web talk show of five episodes for five weeks, open to interaction with the public, which aims to tell 25 stories of good practices that the Tuscan Food and Wine Consortia are implementing at this delicate time, continuing to provide quality products. From April 30th until May 28th, every Thursday at 5 pm, you can follow the episode on the Facebook page: @buyfoodtoscana.

Further information: Nasce #RET: Storie di Resilienza Enogastronomica Toscana (25 april 2020) (IT)