- The Ministry of Agriculture should analyse the reasons for not reaching one-fifth of the target values for the continuous performance indicators between 2020 and 2022, to eliminate them in the future.
- The need and measures for reducing administrative burden are not precisely identified, as the Ministry does not collect and analyse the proposals made by agricultural associations and municipalities on this burden.
- Agricultural sector actors should be more actively involved as social partners in the activities of the working groups set up to address policy making issues.
The National Audit Office carried out an audit on the "Management and Responsibilities System of the Ministry of Agriculture" to assess whether the Ministry's management and responsibilities system is capable of ensuring efficient operations and results. The results of the audit indicate that there are areas for improvement in the system that need to be addressed to ensure smooth and effective policy making.
The Ministry of Agriculture's management and responsibilities system needs to be improved - between 2020 and 2022, one-fifth of the planned indicators of the continuous performance have not been achieved, including: modernisation of the land drainage system, increase in certified organic farming, and the growth of agricultural co-operatives. The National Audit Office stresses that the Ministry should analyse the reasons for the non-achievement of the indicators and undertake improvements to the system.
"More active cooperation between the Ministry and the social partners, and their fuller involvement in the policy making working groups, would help to make decisions that are more in line with stakeholders' expectations. Such decisions would ensure that the administrative burden is reduced and that legislation would not have to be adjusted several times, introducing confusion and uncertainty, as is the case today," said Mindaugas Macijauskas, Auditor General.
Agricultural associations make proposals for possible reductions in administrative burden, but without systematising this information, it is difficult for the Ministry to select appropriate measures to address the problems. Moreover, the number of farmers self-declaring their agricultural land and crops is increasing by only 0.1-0.2 percentage points each year. Improving the declaration system could also reduce the administrative burden.
Agricultural natural risk management currently focuses on compensation mechanisms for damages and insurance premiums, but discourages independent preventive measures. Only a small proportion of crops and plants are insured against natural drought, one of the most serious risks: in 2022, only 0.74% of the area insured was covered by this type of insurance. In the absence of an effective insurance system, farmers are compensated by the State from the State budget or EU funds. In order to avoid potential losses for farmers and costs for the State budget, and in the context of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, it is important to provide farmers with insurance advice.
The Ministry of Agriculture's strategic management changes and the achievement of the objectives of continuous performance through more targeted measures to reduce administrative burden, encourage farmers to manage their own risks due to weather events, create a more modern and user-friendly system for declaring agricultural land and crops, and involve social partners more closely in policy making, would result in a more efficient and effective Ministry.
- There are 148.8 thousand registered agricultural holdings in Lithuania, covering almost 2.9 million hectares.
- Together with forestry and fisheries, the agricultural sector accounted for 4% of gross domestic product in 2022.
- The competitiveness of Lithuania's agriculture, food and fisheries sectors is below the EU average.