IPARD Programme assists EU-aspiring countries in agriculture, rural development sectors

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ata_maliTIRANA – The IPARD II Programme (2014-2020), the European Union’s rural development component of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, is assisting countries aspiring for EU membership, including Albania, with advice, and financial and technical assistance in order to prepare them for future accession in the agriculture and rural development sectors, ATA reports.

Agriculture and rural development experts say that with the aid of international cooperation activities, Albania is making preparations at a practical level to comply with EU standards.

Albanian government is already issuing grants to agricultural and food-processing companies using the project’s ‘IPARD-like’ funds, in a type of test run in accordance with EU criteria.

Government grants account for 50 to 65 % of the total investment cost.

The project has brought Albania a step forward as it prepares for EU accession with the aim of achieving good administrative governance.

According to agriculture experts, Albania is s modernising and reforming its agriculture, which is an important sector of the economy. Initial success is already verifiable: the success rate of applications eligible for approval increases with each call for applications under the grant scheme.

Three nationwide campaigns have been launched under the IPARD-like calls, involving more than 3000 participants. According to official data, in the frame of the 3 (three) IPARD-like calls, Albanian farmers and agro-processors have so far submitted a total of 255 applications with a total value of investments amounting to EUR 45.83 million, whereas grants are estimated at around EUR 23.8 million.