Following a request from the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF), ReSAC concluded a contract for provision of training and assistance to the “Agriculture and Land Tenure” department of the Ministry in relation to the implementation of the quality assessment of the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS). This quality assessment, called LPIS QA, is required by Article 6 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1122/2009, and has to be performed on annual basis by each EU Member State.
ReSAC provided assistance in the implementation of the technical guidance and methodology developed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, considering the Bulgarian LPIS model and specific conditions for eligibility of the agriculture land in the country. Furthermore, ReSAC experts delivered a specific training session and on-the-job support in land cover mapping and image interpretation for the purpose of the reference parcel inspection. Finally, the results of the Model Conformance Test Suite (MTS) and the Executable Test Suite (ETS) have been jointly analyzed and recommendations for the further upgrade of the LPIS were issued.
The importance of the LPIS comes from the requirement that it must channel all area based aids provided in the scope of the EU Common Agriculture Policy (EU CAP), the corresponding financial value of which exceeds €40bn for 2012. For this specific purpose, LPIS quality can roughly be defined as the ability of the system to fulfill two explicit LPIS functions:
- the unambiguous localization of all declared agricultural parcels by farmer and inspectors,
- and the quantification of all eligible area for crosschecks during the administrative controls by the paying agency.
Failure of an LPIS in the unambiguous localization induces risks for double declaration of land. Inadequate quantification of eligible area renders the crosschecks ineffective for preventing and identifying over-declarations by farmers. Both failures involve financial risks for the EU Funds.
Furthermore, any well functioning LPIS greatly facilitates operations by farmers, inspectors and paying agencies, resulting in a better overall performance.
The positive impact of the correct performance of the quality procedure by the Bulgarian administration following the assistance provided by ReSAC was an importance prerequisite for the sound analysis of the LPIS QA results. Some outcomes and highlights of that joint work are to be presented on the annual LPIS workshop on 14-15 of October in Baveno, Italy, organized by DG JRC.