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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure ES-2023-19/3215 – measures in Spain

Support for the livestock and agricultural sector

Ayudas al sector ganadero y agrícola (Real Decreto-ley 4/2023)

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 12 May 2023 – 31 December 2023
Context War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial) or damage compensation
Author Jessica Durán (IKEI) and Eurofound
Measure added 07 June 2023 (updated 28 March 2024)

Background information

The Spanish agricultural sector continues to suffer from the high costs generated by the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The agricultural sector has also been impacted by the recent drought and high temperatures.

In the livestock sector, the lack of rainfall has reduced the availability of pastureland and has forced farms to look for more expensive alternatives for animal feed.

The Spanish government finds it necessary to adopt measures to guarantee the maintenance and sustainability of agricultural and livestock farms in order to reaffirm food security.

Content of measure

Royal Decree-Law 4/2023 of 11 May includes a powerful package of urgent measures to support the agricultural and livestock sector, to address the drought situation and worsening conditions as a result of the war in Ukraine. These include direct state aid amounting to around €636 million in total, divided as follows.

Of the total amount, agricultural sectors will receive €276.7 million in aid. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will determine the crops, areas and amounts to which this aid will correspond depending on how much the drought situation affects them.

On the other hand, €355 million is earmarked for beef, sheep and goat meat and milk producers (livestock sector) to compensate them for increased production costs. The aid will be paid directly to farm owners who are beneficiaries of aid under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), via the Spanish Agricultural Guarantee Fund (FEGA). Additionally, aid to the livestock sectors will be complemented by €5 million for the beekeeping sector.

On the other hand, and following Spanish Royal Decree-Law 5/2023 of 20 June, if the European Commission allocates funds to Spain under the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) agricultural reserve mechanism (due to the exceptional circumstances affecting member states), these funds should be processed in accordance with the provisions of article 6 of Royal Decree-Law 4/2023 of 11 May. In other words, the criteria and conditions for the distribution of aid under Royal Decree-Law 4/2023 would also apply to the distribution of European Commission funds related to the current crisis.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/1465 of 14 July 2023, which grants emergency financial aid to agricultural sectors affected by specific problems affecting the economic viability of agricultural producers, allocated Spain a maximum budget amount of €81,082,911 for the granting of exceptional aid.

Order APA/871/2023 of 20 July of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture determines the amounts, areas and crops affected with regard to extraordinary direct aid to agricultural sectors, and establishes the requirements to be fulfilled for the granting of aid.

Use of measure

There is no estimate of the number of users. The aid is aimed at companies and self-employed in the agricultural and livestock sectors.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


Social partners did not take part in the design and approval of these measures (they are not even consulted).

Views and reactions

ASAJA ("Agrarian Association of Young Farmers") considers the aid approved by the State Government to be insufficient and incomplete, and asks the regional governments to get involved and offer more aid. The Royal Decree is also criticised for not including some sectors in the aid, such as the olive groves or fruit trees. Some regions described the distribution of aid as arbitrary, because not all regions benefit equally from the aid.

COAG ("Coordinating Body of Farmers' and Livestock Producers' Organisations") also considers the measures insufficient

Outside the agricultural sector, CCOO (Comisiones Obreras) trade union also considers the drought aid to be insufficient in view of the loss of employment of wage earners.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      A - Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing A1 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers



Eurofound (2023), Support for the livestock and agricultural sector, measure ES-2023-19/3215 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.