Initiative: Electronic Application System (EAS)
Institution: Rural Support Service (RSS)
Problem: Until 2007, to receive European and State supports for agriculture, Latvian farmers, fishermen and rural entrepreneurs were required to complete a hard copy application and mail in all required material. Unfamiliar with the application process, many beneficiaries would incorrectly fill out or omit pertinent information, causing major delays and/or disqualification. The subsidies are crucial to the farmers and the management of the agriculture sector, like the hiring of seasonal workers to help harvest. As many of the farmers were not receiving subsidies, the government had to find a solution for combating illegal employment practices on farms and providing seasonal workers with social security and safety assurance.
Solution: The EAS – e-service system that is modern, easy to use and unique for Latvia - was designed and implemented to integrate diverse inspection mechanisms to ensure both cross-checking of data input and verification of the data with the existing systems.
Impact: The number of users for EAS increased from 1,064 in 2008 to more than 21,500 in 2014. Another positive outcome was the reduction of the shadow economy in the seasonal agriculture workforce, making a direct impact on the economic performance of Latvia. For example, more than 18,000 farmers now receive discounts on diesel fuel used in agricultural work through the EAS, also raising more interest and investment in RSS developed system in the diesel.