The National Payment Agency has registered 186,700 applications from farmers to receive direct payments for crops and farmland. The number accounts for more than 72 percent of all those who had their fields individually mapped and have more than 1 hectare of farmland. The preliminary declared area is over two million hectares of land.
"Applicants are 3.5 times more active than they were last year. Only 53,800 applications were received during the declaration of crops in 2003," said Virginija Zostautiene, the head of the Rural Development Department at the Agriculture Ministry.
Zostautiene stressed that direct payments are paid out to provide farmers operating in the agriculture sector with financial support. A sum of 123 litas (35.6 euros) per hectare will be paid out for pastureland and fallow-land, and 300 litas (86.95 litas) per hectare will be given for EU supported cropland. About half of the sum will be paid this year and the rest in 2005.
Over 600 million litas (173.91 million litas) have been allotted for direct payments in this financial year.
Late applications will be accepted until July 26. The amount of the payment will be decreased by one percent for each late day.