The Ministry of Agriculture warns farmers and other large landowners against fraud with European agricultural subsidies. Some farmers apply for subsidies for land that does not belong to them, a spokesperson for the ministry confirmed to Follow the Money (FTM), the platform for investigative journalism. The ministry, therefore, advises landowners to apply for subsidies for their land before fraudsters do or to register their land only if they have no claim to the European funds.
If all landowners register their land, they will notice if the same land is registered twice, which could indicate fraud. They can do this on the website of the subsidy provider RVO, which supports the ministry’s call.
Journalists from FTM reported that it is easy to see on the RVO website which areas have not yet been applied for, or have been declared otherwise. Some farmers are taking advantage of this. In 2017, the Forestry Commission reported that farmers had falsely registered thousands of hectares of land with the organization in their name. It appears that this is still common practice.
“If farmers wrongly claim land for agricultural subsidies, this is fraud and therefore punishable,” said the spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture. For the RVO, however, it is impossible to check and enforce all subsidy applications for fraud. After all, there are millions of parcels, some of which were agreed upon verbally.
The Ministry and the RVO will actively approach landowners about this in the coming months. The organizations also want to talk to the sector about this problem. Because here also lies an important responsibility according to the organizations.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/08/05/ministry-warns-farmers-landowners-agricultural-subsidy-scams Ministry warns farmers and landowners about agricultural subsidy scams