By FWi staff
SMALL farmers who receive less than k1250 (763) a year in Brussels subsidies will soon be able to take part in a new scheme aimed at cutting red tape.
Agreed by farm ministers meeting in Luxembourg this week, the pilot project will run for three years, starting in 2002.
Under the scheme, producers will only have to fill out one form for the full period, rather than the current system of multiple applications. The flat rate annual payment will be based on the direct aid the farmer received in 2001, or the average of the three preceding years.
Agriculture commissioner, Franz Fischler indicated that the if the scheme were successful, it could be expanded.
According to UK government sources, about 11% of farmers in England, 20% in Scotland and 21% in Wales are likely to benefit. However, 75% of Portuguese farmers will be eligible.
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