"The CAP reform provides for direct payments to be made only to active farmers. This is a significant achievement that will allow excluding the so-called 'sofa-farmers' from the direct payment system, directing support to those who use farmland for production and keep it in good economic and environmental condition," he said during a meeting of chairpeople of rural affairs committees at EU member states' parliaments in Vilnius on Monday.
Czeslaw Adam Siekierski, the vice-chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, also stressed that only those actually farming the land would be eligible to receive EU money, adding that member states themselves would be able to set criteria for defining an active farmer.
"In the future, payments will be allocated only to active farmers. However, a certain degree of flexibility for member states will be sought, which means that member states will be free to define what an active farmer is," he said.
Jukna said that the planned CAP changes were necessary to face new challenges arising in the EU's agriculture and rural areas.
Many elements of the reform will come into force by 2018.