Andrej Babis Agrofert

Petr Dubinsky

Babis’s Agrofert Received Record Subsidies In 2020

Last year, companies from the Agrofert holding received more than a billion crowns from European subsidies intended for farmers and rural development, which are mediated in the Czech Republic by the State Intervention and Agricultural Fund (SAIF). This is the largest amount during the time when Andrej Babiš is prime minister. This follows from data processed for Deník N by Datlab. The state publishes only partial data on individual companies, but not an overview of subsidies for the entire group. Babiš was the owner of the Agrofert Group until 2017, when he invested the shares of his companies in trust funds due to the Conflict of Interest Act. Agrofert’s companies received over four billion crowns in the years 2017 to 2020.

The company’s money from the Agrofert holding was collected, although according to the conclusions of European auditors and MEPs, the prime minister is in a conflict of interest and should not receive subsidies. However, according to the SAIF’s interpretation of the distribution of agricultural subsidies, the auditors’ decision does not apply to this type of contribution. Babiš has long denied that he would have a conflict of interest with his companies.

The analysis of Deník N shows that last year 66 companies drew this type of support from the Prime Minister’s holding. Subsidies, which companies received, for example, for innovation in the production of yoghurts, a new line for their processing or for expanding the range of packaged salami or for adding nuts to meat products, contributed significantly to the total amount obtained. Last year, the holding collected 150 million from the subsidy package to support the development of new products; in the previous year, it did not draw anything from this subsidy.

According to the server of the dairy company Olma, the highest individual amount last year went to 64.6 million crowns. Less than half of this amount was paid from European sources, the rest from the Czech budget. Last year, the company Lipra Pork, which deals with large-scale pig breeding and pork processing, also credited over 60 million crowns. While Olma received the entire volume from one grant package, Lipra drew from five programs. The third largest recipient of agricultural subsidies from the Agrofert holding was last year’s South Moravian Agro Jevišovice, which is the largest recipient of these contributions in the empire. Last year, Kostelec sausages were among the successful recipients of European money, receiving almost 50 million crowns in support of the development of new products, while, as in the case of Olma, less than half were paid from European money.

Almost 42 million was received by the company engaged in crop production Kladrubská, but it already drew the largest amount from direct payments for cultivated land. It is through this type of subsidies with the English abbreviation SAPS that Agrofert has been obtaining the largest amount of money through SZIF for a long time. Last year, according to the findings of Deník N, the holding received 362.7 million crowns in these payments alone. Last year, this area payment was increased by the Ministry of Agriculture to 3,644 crowns per hectare, while a year earlier it amounted to 3,394 crowns.

The second most important item from the subsidy list is the so-called Greening subsidies, of which Agrofert received 218 million crowns last year. Also in this case, the payment increased during Babiš’s government, last year it rose by 129 crowns per hectare to 2013.64 crowns, the server writes. They then collected over 115 million for investments in agricultural enterprises, from which the holding draws regularly.

While Oseva Agri Chrudim led the table of the largest recipients from Agrofert in the period from 2017 to 2019, last year it mixed the overall ranking. The largest recipient of subsidies from the Babiš Group is the new Moravian Agro Jevišovice during the entire period of his reign. This company focused on crop production and breeding of dairy cattle received 168.8 million crowns in that period. Behind it is the company Alimex Nezvěstice, which manages almost 5,000 hectares of land in 39 cadastral areas and received over 160 million in subsidies. Most of the money went through SAPS grants. Oseva Agri Chrudim, a company specializing in the production of seeds, cereals and legumes, which also produces compound feed, also benefits from the maintenance of meadows and fields. It also received about 160 million crowns in subsidies for the period under review.