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20/ 10/ 2023

Eco-schemes are a major new intervention under the direct payments part of the CAP for the 2023-27 period, focused on addressing climate, environment, animal welfare, and antimicrobial resistance. Member States must allocate at least 25% of their financial envelope for direct payments to these schemes. On average across the EU, eco-schemes account for 23% of direct payment allocations. As such, they have an important role contributing to the achievement of the European Green Deal and the targets and objectives set out in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy.

Member States had a great deal of flexibility as to how they designed their eco-schemes. This has led to significant variability in the final eco-schemes available to farmers in different parts of the EU, in terms of the number of eco-schemes on offer, their focus, content and therefore also their complexity and level of ambition.

Eco-schemes are an important “building block” of the CAP’s green architecture which includes a wide range of tools to improve the environmental and climate performance of agricultural activities. It is therefore important that eco-schemes are assessed while considering their interlinkages with the full range of green architecture tools, including agri-environment-climate commitments, investments, support to organic farming, and other relevant interventions.

International workshop – Carbon balance of the olive sector

24/ 06/ 2023

It is known today that the relationship between agriculture, in particular olive growing, and climate change is bidirectional.

On the one hand, the high dependence of olive trees on climatic conditions makes them vulnerable to climate change; but on the other hand, olive groves are able to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it in the permanent vegetative structures of the olive trees, thus increasing their organic matter content and transforming them into permanent reservoirs of CO2.

According to the 2017 study of the CO2 balance of olive oil in the world carried out by the International Olive Council (IOC), the world olive-growing area, which spans 10.5 million hectares according to IOC data, is capable of capturing 47 million tons of CO2 per year. This means that, on average, one hectare of olive grove can capture 4.5 tons of CO2 per year.  Taking into account the total life cycle of olive oil, it can be maintained that the production of one kilogram of olive oil removes 10 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Recently, several initiatives have emerged to generate ‘carbon credits’ from agriculture. These could hypothetically be monetised on the voluntary emissions market. The European Union (EU) is at present working on a framework for certifying carbon removals.

Therefore, we are currently at a crucial moment for the olive grove to obtain recognition of its fundamental environmental role. This recognition could have a positive effect on farmers, as their sustainable and positive agronomic practices would allow them to obtain additional income.

The current situation is an ideal scenario for the IOC to contribute to the development of the methodological and policy frameworks aimed at enhancing the role of olive groves as an effective strategy to achieve the United Nations climate goals, in line with the adaptation measures recently described in the sixth synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It is in this context that the IOC will be organising an international workshop entitled “CARBON BALANCE OF THE OLIVE SECTOR: PART OF THE SOLUTION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE” at the Organisation’s headquarters in Madrid (Spain), as well as online, from 17 to 19 October, 2023. The working language of the workshop will be English.

As the world’s only intergovernmental organisation in the field of olive oil and table olives, the IOC occupies a fundamental position in the olive sector, providing its Member States with technically contrasted tools, developed according to recognised and validated standards and that are easily accessible to the end user.

The workshop will provide a unique opportunity for participants to exchange on their experiences, to reflect on the position of the olive oil and table olive sector in terms of its contribution to the achievement of the “CO2 neutrality” objectives, as well as on how the current situation can benefit the sector as a whole.

The workshop aims to bring together stakeholders in the olive sector – experts, lawyers, policy makers, project coordinators, private company representatives, etc. – who are interested in the assessment of the carbon balance, the removal of CO2, carbon credit markets, etc., with a view to creating a platform for reflection on these issues.

All key players in the field of sustainability in the olive sector are invited to participate in this workshop, which aims to identify avenues of mutual understanding and collaboration and to promote synergies that will strengthen the study of the carbon balance in the olive sector.

GLOBALG.A.P. Celebrates World Food Safety Day 2023

13/ 06/ 2023

Cologne, Germany (07/06/2023) – GLOBALG.A.P. celebrates the fifthWorld Food Safety Day, a call to action by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). World Food Safety Day highlights several areas of food safety including foodborne risks, food security, health, economic prosperity, sustainable development, and agriculture.

This year’s campaign – Food standards save lives – specifically draws attention to the significance of food standards in ensuring food safety and quality. The WHO and FAO have underscored the fact that food safety benefits not only consumers but also producers and global economies by boosting consumer confidence in products on the market. Playing a key role in the food safety sector, GLOBALG.A.P. offers industry-leading, cost-effective, and value-adding assurance and benchmarking solutions which have been continuously developed through extensive collaboration with stakeholders across the value chain over the last 25 years.The flagship Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard takes a holistic approach to the responsible farming of crops and aquaculture with food safety at the heart of the standard requirements. In fact, 22% of the requirements in IFA v6 for fruit and vegetables (Smart edition), the most recent version of the standard, are solely dedicated to food safety.

With global warming becoming an increasingly serious environmental concern, the FAO reports that rising temperatures can increase food- and waterborne diseases, spread fungal infections in plants, drive plant pests into new areas (potentially leading to pesticide overuse),and increase the spread of harmful algae thereby affecting seafood safety.

IFA helps fight these effects by promoting the protection of food and water sources and the monitoring of products to prevent pests and diseases. The new requirement for continuous improvement plan under IFA v6 also encourages measurable target setting to strengthen environmental sustainability on farms.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Chain of Custody standard also contributes to food safety by mitigating the risk of food fraud and providing supply chain transparency through strict requirements for the proper segregation, handling, and tracing of food products, from farms to retailers.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat recognizes that threats to food safety and security are experienced unequally across the globe. Women and children, marginalized communities, and those in war-torn areas are exposed to higher risks of falling ill to foodborne diseases, for example. The GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat pursues unique efforts towards food safety and security in these circumstances, particularly across the Global South and in Eastern Europe, through capacity-building projects and the innovation of increasingly smart farm assurance solutions.



GLOBALG.A.P. is a brand of smart farm assurance solutions developed by FoodPLUS GmbH in Cologne, Germany, with cooperation from producers, retailers, and other stakeholders from across the food industry. These solutions include a range of standards for safe, socially and environmentally responsible farming practices. The most widely used GLOBALG.A.P. standard is IFA, which also forms the basis of the GGN label– a consumer label for certified, responsible farming and transparency.

The GLOBALG.A.P. brand began its journey as EUREPGAP in 1997. More than twenty-five years later, over 200,000 producers have GLOBALG.A.P. certification in 134 countries. Nearly 150 team members around the world are dedicated to the mission of spreading responsible farming practices to ensure safe food for future generations.

Sustainable Olive Oil Production Helps Mitigate Climate Change

13/ 06/ 2023

Scientific studies have documented the positive effects of olive growing on the environment. In addition to the role played by the olive tree in safeguarding biodiversity, improving soil, and as a barrier to desertification, there is evidence that specific agricultural practices have the capacity to increase the atmospheric CO2 fixed in permanent vegetative structures (biomass) and in the soil.

On this basis, the International Olive Council (IOC) was present at the annual climate conference COP22, (Conference of the Parties COP to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC), which this year took place in Marrakech, Morocco, November 7 – 18 2016.

COP22 has special importance after the Paris Agreement, that just entered into force and enshrined the first-ever universal, legally binding global deal to tackle climate change, with the main goal to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C.”

At the conference, 197 Parties (196 States and the European Union) met to turn their promises into action and wound up with a call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority.”

In Marrakech, during a session entitled Olive oil, the liquid gold helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the head of the environment R&D department of the IOC, Francesco Serafini, gave a speech about the role of olive trees and olive oil as a sustainable alternative to mitigate climate change. One of the IOC deputy directors participated alongside olive oil and CO2 experts to present results that indicate that the production of olive oil, using the right farming techniques, can contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The olive tree forest has existed for thousands of years. Their fruit and the oil it produces are good for your health but olive trees are also good for the environment,” Serafini told Olive Oil Times. They are a barrier to desertification and erosion. Olive orchards are a CO2 sink, remove CO2 from the atmosphere and fix it in the soil,” he added, and explained that in the production of 1 liter of olive oil, olive trees remove 10 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.”

In fact, according to the research published to date, during the life cycle of the product, an average 1.5 kg CO2e is emitted into the atmosphere to produce one liter of virgin or extra virgin olive oil,” said Serafini.

However, if the proper agricultural practices are applied, in a mature semi-intensive olive orchard with average crop yields, an olive tree can fix 10t CO2e/ha/year, resulting in a clear positive balance.” It can be therefore demonstrated that, when proper agricultural practices are applied, the carbon sink effect of olive trees is much greater than the amount of CO2 emitted to produce one product unit.

In relation to climate change, a sink is any process, activity or mechanism that extracts greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. These gasses include CO2, the concentration of which has increased exponentially in recent years and is the main cause of global warming.

During the IOC conference, it was remarked that olive trees can be grown in extreme climactic conditions, where few other woody crops survive. Seventy percent of the world’s olive orchards are rain fed, without water from irrigation and using rainwater only. In some regions of the Mediterranean, olive trees are grown with barely 200 mm of rain and constitute an essential source of livelihood for many sectors of the population.

Participation of IOC in COP 22 has been a decisive opportunity to show the world how the production of olive oil, virgin or extra virgin, according to specific agricultural practices, helps to mitigate the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. It is important to emphasize that we are talking about not only the logical environmental benefit of the olive tree but in particular the environmental benefit of producing virgin and extra virgin olive oil,” Serafini pointed out. Olive trees are part of the solution to climate change.”

First Turkish Cypriot ‘Halloumi/‘Hellim’ cheese certified Protected Designation of Origin

13/ 06/ 2023

The first Turkish Cypriot ‘Χαλλουμι’ (Halloumi)/‘Hellim’ cheese producer was awarded the protected designation of origin (PDO) certificate under the EU quality scheme.

Following the registration of the name ‘Χαλλουμι’ (Halloumi)/‘Hellim’ as PDO, only Halloumi/Hellim produced on the island of Cyprus in accordance with the requirements of the related product specification can be marketed in the European Union as ‘Χαλλουμι’ (Halloumi)/‘Hellim’. This provides for the possibility for producers on both sides of the Green Line to apply for PDO certification of their products.

Thefirst control in the Turkish Cypriot community took place in February this year by Bureau Veritas, an internationally accredited body delegated to perform the related official controls throughout the island. The first producer from the Turkish Cypriot community was assessed to be compliant with the requirements set out in the ‘Χαλλουμι’ (Halloumi)/‘Hellim’ PDO product specification.

The PDO control and certification system by Bureau Veritas is in place since the application of the Commission Regulation registering ‘Χαλλουμι’ (Halloumi)/‘Hellim’ as PDO. A number of Halloumi producers established in the areas of the Republic of Cyprus under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus have already received the PDO certification under this system.

Meanwhile, the measures concerning EU animal and public health requirements required to be fulfilled for the Turkish Cypriot community to fully benefit from the EU quality scheme by trading the PDO products across the Green Line still remain to be implemented.


The registration of ‘Χαλλουμι’ (Halloumi)/‘Hellim’, the most known cheese of Cyprus, as a PDO in 2021, enabled the producers from both Cypriot communities to benefit from this EU quality scheme.

Turkish Cypriot community still needs to implement measures related to EU sanitary and phytosanitary standards, before the ‘Χαλλουμι’ (Halloumi)/‘Hellim’ PDO cheese by Turkish Cypriot producers can be allowed to be marketed in the EU. This is expected by end of 2024.

The Commission is supporting this process and the Turkish Cypriot dairy sector under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community.

Single Aid Application

12/ 06/ 2023

Single Aid Application

The Direct Payments provided to producers in the framework of the 1st Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are a decisive/determinant factor for the sustainability of the primary sector. They provide a safety net for agricultural income that addresses the high risks caused by the uncertainty of climatic conditions and market instability, while at the same time offsetting the primary sector’s low incomes in comparison to other sectors of the economy.

The CAP budget share available to Greek producers in the form of Direct Payments for the 2023-2027 programming period amounts to a total of about 9.6 billion Euros.

In order to ensure the legality of the direct payments made to producers, the CAP relies on the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS), which checks the accuracy of the data provided by producers as regards their land and livestock when submitting their Single Aid Application (SAA), providing for administrative and on-site audits and imposing reductions and penalties where necessary.

The period for submitting single payment declarations for the year 2023 has started .

Producers will be able to communicate with our skilled staff for further information.

Other services

  • Declaration and transfer of payment entitlements
  • Register of farms and agricultural holdings

Greece’s Cap Strategic Plan

12/ 06/ 2023

CAP Strategic Plans support the transition towards a smart, sustainable, competitive, resilient and diversified agricultural sector, ensuring long-term food security. They also contribute to climate action, the protection of natural resources and the preservation/enhancement of biodiversity, as well as strengthen the socio-economic fabric of rural areas.

The CAP Plans support a wide range of interventions, addressing the specific needs of Member States and their territories. Designed in line with a new result- and performance-oriented approach, they aim to deliver tangible results in relation to EU-level CAP specific objectives, while contributing to the European Green Deal.

For the first time, each CAP Plan defines a strategy covering all the main CAP funded instruments: direct payments, support for rural development and interventions specific to certain market sectors.

The needs of rural areas will also be addressed by other EU instruments such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) or the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

The impacts of both the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the extreme weather conditions caused by climate change, highlight the integral link between food security and the need of transition to sustainable and resilient food systems. In this context, the CAP Strategic Plans offer opportunities: e.g. to reduce dependence on synthetic fertilisers and scale up production of renewable energy without undermining food production; and to transform the sectors’ capacity in line with more sustainable production methods.

Greece submitted its first proposal for a CAP Strategic Plan on 30 December 2021, after consultation with stakeholders. On 17 October 2022, Greece submitted a revised proposal, addressing the Commission’s observations on the first draft. The Commission approved this proposal on 21 November 2022. This document presents some of the main features of the CAP Strategic Plan of Greece.

The Greek agricultural sector employs approximately 400 000 people, representing 10% of employment in all sectors. The farm labor force consists mainly of family holdings. Unemployment in rural areas remains an issue, especially for young people, in light of the aging population. More than 70% of the Greek agricultural area faces natural or other specific constraints (for example: extreme slopes, low temperatures, dryness of soil, unfavorable soil texture, borderline areas, island regions) which significantly affect farming.

  • Rural areas represent 63% of the Greek territory and the agricultural land amounts to approximately 5.3 million hectares.
  • Rural inhabitants represent 31% of the Greek population, a share higher than the EU average.
  • Greek agriculture consists of about 700 000 farms, which are rather small in physical size with the average farm being 7 hectares. In fact, more than 70% of the farms consist of less than 5 hectares.


The Greek CAP Plan responds to modern challenges through a balanced approach to the ambitions of the new CAP for a more resilient, green and digital agriculture, in line with the priorities of the European Green Deal. It marks the shift towards a new production model for Greek agriculture and the entire agri-food sector in Greece. The Plan focuses on improving competitiveness by promoting innovation and new technologies, fostering young entrepreneurship and securing a fair income for farmers. Moreover, the Plan aims to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture. The main priority remains the sustainable development of rural areas.


Greece aims to increase the sustainability and resilience of its agricultural sector by focusing on the production of quality agricultural products. At the same time, the Plan will improve the economic viability of small and medium-sized holdings, which represent the backbone of Greek agriculture.

Greece will improve competitiveness and global market orientation by ensuring high quality and stable raw material production for sectors that are important for the Greek agri-food system, such as the fruit and vegetables, wine, apiculture, olive oil and table olives sectors.

As a response to the new conditions and challenges that are emerging on the global agri-food market, the Plan aims to strengthen the negotiating power of farmers in the value chain. In order to achieve that, it emphasizes the participation in collective schemes and producer groups (for example, creating inter-branch organizations that will help farmers jointly address the new challenges of the market and strengthen their position in the agri-food value chain) and foresees the reinforcement of certification, standardization and labelling of Greek agricultural products.


  • Greece allocates around EUR 4.3 billion to stabilize farmers’ income with basic income support and to mitigate the risk of production decreases arising from price fluctuations and external factors. This support is differentiated and targeted according to agronomic land category (arable land, permanent crop land and pasture/ grazing land) and ranges from EUR 176 per hectare to EUR 270 per hectare.
  • An additional EUR 885 million is allocated to improve the sustainability of small and medium farms by ensuring a fairer distribution of support and better targeting of the income support to the agricultural sector.


Greece aims to increase its environmental and climate ambitions by contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation via a more efficient management of natural resources and protection of biodiversity.

The biggest challenge is to reinforce and improve the existing practices as well as the requirements in terms of good agricultural and environmental conditions (such as replacing crop diversification by crop rotation). Greece prioritizes the implementation of interventions going beyond minimum requirements in terms of the climate, environment and animal welfare (eco-schemes) and prioritizes interventions relating to climate change adaptation, protection of soil and water, promotion of organic farming methods, precision farming and preservation of biodiversity and forests.

Greece allocates EUR 1.5 billion for environmental and climate objectives such as organic farming, alternative methods of plant protection with a view to reducing pesticides, reinforcing nature protected areas as well as contributing to water savings and improving infrastructure.

  • Greece will dedicate EUR 1.4 billion to organic farming methods, more than doubling the total agricultural land under organic farming.
  • More than EUR 425 million per year (with an estimated impact on about 3 million hectares) have been allocated to support eco-schemes, such as using resilient species and varieties, improving green cover practices and reinforcing biodiversity, circular economy and environmentally-friendly management practices.


To ensure a demographic renewal of the agricultural population, as well as a sustainable development of rural areas, Greece will provide in total over EUR 730 million to young farmers, in combination with actions to support their education, provision of advisory services and reinforcement of their business plans.

In order to promote social inclusion, local development and equality between genders, including the increased participation of women in agriculture, Greece will support the development of local businesses and strengthen investments to serve the local population. Particular emphasis will be placed on actions and initiatives with a social and environmental dimension. More than 4 million people living in rural areas, representing more than 70% of the Greek rural population, will benefit from community-led local development strategies.

Greece plans to improve animal welfare, prevent animal diseases and minimize the use of antibiotics. This will positively affect the production of healthy and high nutritional value products.

  • More than 70 000 new jobs will be created in rural areas, through support to young farmers, investments in processing and marketing of agricultural products as well as in forest technologies and marketing of forest products.
  • More than 65 000 young farmers will benefit from setting-up support. Moreover, Greece will also complement the income of young farmers (below the age of 40) with EUR 70 per hectare, thus spending EUR 140 million over the period 2023-2027.


Greece will enable the set-up of a system for agricultural knowledge and innovation (AKIS) in order to promote innovation in the agri-food sector. The CAP Plan will facilitate the transfer of knowledge and new technologies in the primary sector by providing relevant education and training to producers and advice while encouraging cooperation among different actors (for example, researchers and farmers).

Farmers will be incentivized to keep their farms modern and innovative, for example, by investing in digital technologies and/or forming operational groups to develop innovative solutions and practices.

  • More than 15 000 farms will participate in groups to exchange ideas and improve the organisation of the supply chain.
  • More than 200 000 persons will benefit from advice, training and knowledge exchange or from participating in European Innovation Partnership (EIP) operational groups in order to enhance sustainable economic, social, environmental and climate growth as well as resource efficiency performance.
EU budget (€) National funding (€) Total (€)
Direct payments 9 621 616 199 n/a 9 621 616 199
Sectoral support 220 228 225 30 594 225 250 822 450
Rural development 3 635 969 755 792 150 700 4 428 120 455
Total 13 477 814 179 822 744 925 14 300 559 104


Environmental and climate objectives under rural development 1 480 200 791 41%
Eco-schemes under direct payments 2 175 410 400 25%
LEADER 200 000 000 6%
Complementary redistributive income support 885 298 064 10%
Young farmers (generational renewal) 730 000 000 n/a



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