The EU Commission will keep the rate for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) at 5% and not raise it to 7%, after releasing a new report. 
 
Under the rules, farmers with arable land above 15ha must ensure that at least 5% of this land is an ecological focus area.
 
There was the possibility that this was going to rise to 7% but the EU Commission has said it will stay at 5%.
 
Copa and Cogeca, the European farmers group, said it was good news for farmers as the amount of EFA land already surpassed 7%.
 
In 2015, 10% of the land under the obligation was declared as EFA, with data for 2016 showing similar results.
 
Pekka Pesonen of Copa and Cogeca commented: “We welcome this move. But we still have some major concerns vis-à-vis the ban on the use of plant protection products (PPPs) on all potentially productive EFAs. Such a requirement will pose both agronomic and administrative problems which is particularly worrying as we need to encourage farmers and public administrations to implement the greening measures under the CAP and increase its acceptability.”
 
Farmers can implement EFA by planting nitrogen-fixing crops, catch crops and land lying fallow, or landscape features such as field margins, trees, hedges and buffer strips.