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The Integrated Administration and Control System

The EU adopted an Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) in 1992 to improve the efficiency with which direct payments were made to farmers under the CAP. Between 2003 and 2005, the system was further developed to meet the requirements of single-area payments. The objective of IACS is to ensure that correct payments are made to farmers and that there is traceability of payments. This requires the creation of a database that identifies each parcel or block of agricultural land in a unique manner, its size and who can claim the payments to be made on it. In essence, each Member State must have a cadastre for agricultural land that forms part of the UAA showing who farms it. The system must be able to identify whether a claim is made from an individual or legal person who is permitted to make such a claim, that multiple claims are not being made for any piece of land, and that the land is part of the UAA. As land can be transferred between farmers and agricultural land parcels may be joined together or divided, the system must contain means by which the registers are updated without compromising the integrity of the data. It must also record when land is removed from the UAA.

Member States must establish electronic registers that contain all the information about each parcel required for cross-checking claims, including the identity of the holder, date of establishment, date of last activation, the origin (such as whether acquired by purchase, lease or inheritance) and the kind of entitlement, as well as their locations and accurate measurement. There is a measurement tolerance of 5 percent of the parcel area or 1.5 metres to the perimeter, up to a maximum tolerance for each parcel of 1 hectare. Member States can use remote sensing as a check.

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe have had to adopt IACS as part of the acquis. They cannot apply the single payment system until they have in place a Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) to identify the parcels on which aid applications are made and their areas. This means they must have a computerized database of agricultural holdings, parcels and aid applications. The Czech Republic, for example, created an LPIS using aerial photography (Sitewell Information Systems, 2004). Legal power to create the LPIS was given in an Act of 2003, after an earlier experiment in using voluntary communication and an off-line system had not proved effective. The system was deployed in 2004. At its heart are a series of detailed rules designed to prevent problems such as multiple applications for aid for the same parcel or from the same farmer, and to ensure that those applying are eligible and that the application is for eligible land.

The pre-2004 Member States also had to improve their systems as a result of the 20032005 changes. These reflect developments in technology and improvements in the information available, which have been incorporated into the specifications for IACS. For example, in the United Kingdom a Rural Land Register (RLR) has been created, containing digital maps of all IACS land parcels. When IACS was first started, the age of maps used to compute field areas varied considerably, and some did not achieve the current required standards of accuracy. The RLR involved the use of up-todate mapping, with farmers being sent maps for comment and payments for areas adjusted to reflect improved accuracy in measurement (Rural Payments Agency, 2002).

IACS is essentially a database of agricultural land parcels with their sizes and georeferences, which is linked to records of farmers and their aid applications. It does not, however, contain information on land tenure because it does not record ownership. It does not need to concern itself with tenure or the ownership of the land because it is a management device for the payment of aid to farmers. IACS records could be linked to ownership records from cadastres or with returns made under agricultural surveys to create land tenure databases. Its importance is that it covers the whole UAA and includes precise locations and sizes of parcels. This makes it of potential importance in spatial planning because it locates the units for which there are data from other sources.

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