09 October 2012
The Single Area Payment (SAP) recognises the role played by the farming industry in managing the Island’s environment and safeguarding its natural resources.
The SAP is paid annually to all commercial farmers in Jersey, based on the number of vergees they farm. In 2012 the payment rate was £35 per vergee, broadly equivalent to the Single Farm Payment paid throughout the European Union, ensuring Jersey farmers are not disadvantaged in their local and export markets.
The Single Area Payment is a key support measure agreed by the States in the Rural Economy Strategy 2011–2015 and honours a States commitment, made when the UK joined the Common Market in 1973, to ensure that Jersey farmers should remain on a level playing field with their European competitors.
This year 81 farmers received SAP support for their commercial activities on approximately 27,300 vergees, equating to 74% of the agricultural land area in Jersey.
The Single Area Payment is available to all bone fide agriculturalists and smallholders responsible for commercially managing agricultural land and is paid irrespective of the crop grown. This approach enables farmers to be market focused. It also stimulates diversification while encouraging the increased use of agricultural land, which is so important in managing the rural landscape and maintaining the beauty and biodiversity of the island’s countryside.
Conditions are applied to the receipt of SAP which safeguard the island’s soil, water and biodiversity by asking applicants to follow Good Agricultural and Environmental Practice.
The SAP was distributed early this year, recognising that farmers have faced a difficult growing season due to adverse weather conditions, increased costs of production and a challenging market place. This early payment was made possible by more efficient data handling via the EDD Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) system, which made it easier to manage SAP applications and reduced the documentation required from applicants.
Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey, said “It is important that the States continues to honour its 1973 commitments to the farming community, made during the negotiations surrounding the UK accession to the Common Market.
Level playing field
“These payments ensure that Jersey businesses are not put at a competitive disadvantage compared to EU and UK farmers. Such support helps maintain a minimum level of agricultural activity in the Island, recognising that the rural landscape, which defines Jersey, is shaped by farming activity. It also requires environmental best practice and secures jobs in the rural economy.
"It is important to confirm that all bone fide agriculturalists and smallholders are eligible to claim support payments at exactly the same rate per vergee, regardless of size, as laid down in the Rural Economy Strategy 2011-2015.”