STAFF REPORTER FARMERS in the Balearics will be able to get between 12'000 and 30'000 euros in government money to change their old tractors or harvesting machines. This coming 9th July is the last day for signing up to an aid package of 567'000 euros being provided under the regional Agricultural ministry's Renewal Plan this year. So far there have only been 11 applications.

Minister Merce Amer explained yesterday that there is a dual purpose to the subsidies: to improve farming efficiency and to promote the use of vehicles which are less polluting and energy saving. The ministry wants to do away with heavy machinery that is “past its sell-by date” but stipulates that the trade-in vehicles must be at least 15 years old. Replying to criticism of what is perceived as high numbers of administration staff at the ministry, Amer said her department has to cope with around 12'000 applications, queries, requests and complaints every year.