TIRANA, January 24
The European Union (EU) adopted on Tuesday a grant of Euro 71 million under the Rural Development component of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance – IPA for agriculture and rural development in Albania.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Niko Peleshi declared on Tuesday that applications for allocation of funds from IPARD II program will open this spring. In the meantime, all the interested businesses must submit strong business plans.
The IPARD grants scheme is cofounded by the EU with €71 million and the government of Albania with €23 million.
“Farmers and agroproducers, who have projects but cannot implement them due to the lack of funds, must draft business plans, and content with professional consultants in order to meet all the conditions that make them eligible for funding. The application requirements will be unveiled soon,” Minister Peleshi said.
Yet, the low absorption capacity of financial resources allocated by the EU remains a problem due to the strict criteria defined by the EU. The grants will be allocated in form of investments in agricultural holdings, in processing and marketing of agriculture and fishery products, farm diversification, and technical assistance.
The grant aid can go up to 70 percent of the value of the investment in the mountainous area and to 65 percent for farmers under the age of 40. The grants vary from €10,000 to €500,000.
The goal of the IPARD program is to provide assistance for the implementation of the acquis regarding the Common Agricultural Policy and to contribute to the sustainable adoption of the agricultural sector and rural areas of Albania as an EU candidate country.
The Agency for Agriculture and Rural Development will provide further details on the application process.
News Source: N. Peleshi
Photo: Cows on Pasture in Razma, Malesi e Madhe, Credit: Kletia Kalavace