The EU commission puts forward four flagship categories of eco-schemes: agroforestry, agro-ecology, precision farming and carbon farming. These eco-schemes fit in the farm to fork strategy and they aim at giving examples of what the Commission expects from the member States when they will design their national eco-schemes.
There is an initial indicative list although the final design of eco-schemes will not be known until the trilogue negotiations are completed. Member States should be able to implement ‘entry-level’ schemes in direct payments that could be a condition for participation in agri-environment-climate schemes in the rural development domain. IACS systems were historically dealing only with Pillar 1 payments however, with this new schemes, it will become of utmost importance to integrate both direct and RD payments inside the same IT system to enable easy automated cross-checks and avoid double payments.
As of today, only some Member States are managing all payment schemes inside a single integrated IT system, whereas most of them are still running decoupled systems which integrate with manual transfer of information. In some MS, this is due to the presence of different agencies. Interestingly, the new eco-schemes will extend the concept of ‘contracts’ to direct payments, something that NIVA’s UC5b has seen coming since the beginning of the project.
Comparison of possible pillar 1 eco-schemes and pillar 2 AECM will be provided soon.