Sweden: national Strategic Plan 2023-2027
Sweden’s strategic plan for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reflects a high level of ambition for agricultural policy in the years 2023-2027, both in terms of increasing the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of the sector, and in terms of prioritizing animal welfare and increasing ambition in the environmental and climate fields. The aim is also to contribute to the development of Sweden’s rural areas so that it is possible to live and work there. In Sweden, the landscape is dominated by forests, which cover 69% of the area, while agriculture accounts for 8% of the area. In many regions, agriculture accounts for an even smaller share, 0.5-1%. In areas where forests predominate, the presence of agricultural land provides variation in the landscape that can provide a variety of habitats conducive to biodiversity. Here, it is essential that agriculture, and particularly ranching, continue and that the open landscape be preserved, despite the relatively low competitiveness of agriculture.
High priority is given to improving the profitability of agriculture, increasing food production, and competitiveness. Profitability is weak in agriculture, where milk production is the main resource. Milk production is in decline. In addition to direct income support, production-related livestock payments, and compensation payments, measures to improve skills, collaborative projects, innovation, and investments to increase competitiveness are important.
In addition, the Swedish strategic plan wants to stimulate the positive environmental effects of agriculture such as carbon sequestration, knowledge of sustainable production, biodiversity, and valuable pastures, particularly through eco-schemes for catch crops, spring processing, and precision agriculture.
Finally, the strategic plan aims to help make rural areas more attractive through, among other things, strengthening entrepreneurial capacity, innovation, and stimulating generational change. A relatively weak innovation system, combined with the low attractiveness of agriculture and a high age structure, are some of the aggravating factors that discourage investment. To strengthen rural development, measures are being implemented within and outside the CAP, including the strengthening of national support for broadband and business services to the tune of about €338 million.
For the period 2023-2027, Sweden has approximately €3.4 billion available for direct payments and €1 billion for EAFRD funds.
The green architecture
The green architecture covers the interaction between the following elements of the strategic plan: relevant legislation, management conditions (GAEC), Pillar I one-year environmental and climate compensations (eco-schemes), Pillar II multi-annual environmental and climate compensations, environmental investments, cooperation, capacity building and EIP
The following eco-schemes are proposed in the Swedish Strategic Plan:
-Eco-scheme for Intercropping for carbon sequestration, catch crops and spring tillage for reduced nitrogen losses.
The goal of the intervention is to reduce nutrient leaching from arable land and sequester carbon in the soil, as well as improve soil fertility. The measure consists of three different parts: intercropping to sequester carbon, intercropping to reduce nitrogen leaching, and spring tillage to reduce nitrogen leaching.
Planned unit amount:
- Medium crops 113 – 141 euro per hectare
- Catch crops 130 – 156 euro per hectare
- Spring tillage 61 – 71 euro per hectare
-Eco-scheme for Precision farming– Crop Management planning
A plant nutrient balance shows whether the use of nitrogen and phosphorus is efficient and whether there is a surplus or deficit of plant nutrients at farm level. A nutrient balance can reduce chemical dependency. Fertilization planning, good manure management, and feeding lead to efficient use of resources. Integrated pest management is crucial as well. This planning includes liming, fertilisation, choice of varieties and these elements are included in precision farming planning.
The planned unit amount for precision farming planning is 20-39 euro/hectare.
-Eco-scheme for organic production
The aim is to facilitate and increase organic production and to promote the ecosystem services of the agricultural landscape by encouraging a variety of farming practices. The aim is also to contribute to meeting the Swedish environmental objectives and to meet consumer demand for food with specific characteristics.
Upper and lower variation of unit amount
Cereals 132 – 162 euro per hectare ; Potatoes 443 – 541 euro per hectare ; Fruit and berries 663 – 811 euro per hectare ; Livestock Arable land 159 – 195 euro per hectare.
Sweden allocates 13% of the national envelope for direct payments (€446 million out of €3.4 billion) to the coupled livestock payment. Sweden has had a general trend of declining livestock production for a long time. In many parts of Sweden, the climate means that the economic return on crop production is generally weak, while grass production can be good. In these areas, forage processing by livestock is therefore the most important branch of production in order to keep agriculture active. Coupled support helps retain more farmers and thus helps maintain production across the country. The unit provided can vary between 83-102 euros per animal per year. The level of support is the same throughout Sweden.
To achieve the goal of redistributing income support from large to small and medium-sized farms, degressivity is used. Degressivity applies to farms that receive more than €60,000 in agricultural payments and amounts to 10% of the amount above this limit. In Sweden, income support was completely leveled off in the 2015-2020 period, meaning that the same support is paid per hectare across the country and to all types of farms.
Ensuring that new farmers enter the industry is a prerequisite for the long-term sustainability of the agricultural sector. The supplementary income aid for young farmers, which is paid for five years for the first 150 hectares, is an important measure to help young people buy or lease land. In addition to this aid, there will also be start-up aid paid when the farm is established. To further facilitate the financing of the investment, it is proposed that the rate of aid for young farmers will be 40% of the investment compared to 30% for other entrepreneurs.
The amount of support for a young farmer is about 70% of the basic income support for sustainability and SEK 220,000 (€21,225) per year for five years for a young farmer with 200 hectares of arable land. This supplement can help in the first few years after setting up, when margins and efficiency may be lower than on an established farm.