Agricultural payments: guarantees and speed to protect the sector

This created web-based solution has allowed the Agency to advance financial liquidity to rural enterprises that have a right to the so-called Single Community Premium, via a pool of 12 banks operating in the Veneto region.

Thanks to the project developed by Engineering, more than 90 thousand agricultural firms in Veneto were able to make use of European funds in 2012 (about 360 million Euro in total), in advance compared to the traditional average times of the European Union and the real availability of funds in the AVEPA coffers, thus obtaining a significant competitive advantage.

The protocol of understanding, named "Insieme per l'Agricoltura" (Together for Agriculture), was signed in Verona during the trade fair event Vinitaly 2012, in the presence of the AVEPA Director, the President of the Veneto Region and representatives of the banks involved (Banca Antonveneta, Banca della Nuova Terra, Banca Popolare FriulAdria, Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Banco Popolare di Verona, Cassa di Risparmio del Veneto, Federazione Veneta delle Banche di Credito Cooperativo, Unicredit, Veneto Banca e Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia).

The project has had an effect on the provision of application services and the use of relative ICT infrastructures made available at the Engineering Data Centers in Vicenza and Milan, both ISO 27001 certified, one of the reference standards foreseen by the EU legislation for compliance of IT systems with paying bodies.

One characterization of the solution has been the extensive virtualization of processing resources, to guarantee energy saving and enable rationalized management of the processing power required to ensure the levels of service and "end user" response times required by the agency's management processes.

The technical solution

The Web application devised by the application team, which autonomously carried out analysis and development, is a web-based solution realized with J2EE v6.0 that uses the Oracle 11g database for data management, while the entire application is installed on Application Server JBoss 5.1.

The main technological components used are the Hibernate 3.x framework, aimed at mapping items on a database and at persistence, and Struts 2.1.8, adopted for realization of the MVC (Model-View-Control) architecture. In particular, to guarantee greater application fluidity in order to favor final user interaction, AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) type technologies were introduced.

The entire application also manages user authentication and profiling by using the CAS (Central Authentication Service) protocol. The application's functional idempotence was guaranteed during the development phase by using test-driven techniques based on JUnit.

The architectural choices and the entire realization identify a solution that, in addition to using cutting-edge technologies and development standards, also allows good configurability, software maintenance process simplification and management of application extensions and future evolutions. Also, the paradigm used and the technological solution can be used as a model in other application contexts.