“In March, the national scheme starts with zero documents,” was announced in the “Ditari” studio on A2 by Frida Krifca, the director of the Agency for Agriculture and Rural Development. According to her, this scheme will increase investment in rural areas.
“In March, the national scheme will start with zero documents. We will increase the investment in rural areas. We want to support rural areas and provide opportunities for both Albanians and foreigners to enjoy the countryside. The application is done through e-albania. This scheme should offer support to farmers.”
Krifca emphasized that farmers should apply with a business plan to ensure sustainable investments and economic growth and employment.
“Taxes for working in agriculture and taxes on agricultural inputs have been reduced. Small farmers receive direct support to buy livestock or plant orchards or greenhouses. Farmers must apply with a business plan to ensure that their investments are sustainable and profitable within the first five years. We want to help them follow a path that brings benefits. We don’t want to invest in projects that will fail from the beginning, but rather to increase economic growth, employment, and improve the food standards, and teach farmers to have access to EU funding. For IPARD 3, we have requested 166 billion euros.”
Regionalization is a mechanism that the agency uses. It is an educational process that is happening with farmers.
The director of ARDA also emphasized the need for a new mindset in agriculture. She believes that the younger generation needs to be educated with love for agriculture.
“There is an education happening among farmers. There is a need for more information to educate the younger generation with love for working in agriculture, and we need a new mindset in agriculture. What struck me is that out of 100 million euros of investments, 19 million are related to technological investments happening in various enterprises, such as centralized management in cattle farms, where farmers can check the progress through their phones, leading to better control, reduced losses, and increased profits for the farm.”
Krifca also announced that the veterinary authority will soon be operational, providing legal oversight for the majority of the population, which consists of livestock.
“The Veterinary Authority will oversee the majority of the population, which consists of livestock, and will create the entire legal basis.”
During the conversation, Krifca also discussed the successful results of the IPARD scheme, stating that with a new procedure approved by the European Commission, they have managed to reach up to 50% pre-financing for farmers.
The IPARD call has been successful, which means a lot of work for the agency to manage this demand. We did not expect farmers to have such a strong desire to invest in the agricultural sector. In this call alone, 360 entities have expressed interest. Yesterday, we closed the call with a high figure. The demand was for 29.9 million euros, and the grant request reached 60 million euros. IPARD favors investments in difficult mountainous areas. Albania has been impacted in every aspect of this program.”
She also informed that since 2018, more than 100 million euros of investments have been made in agriculture, with 260 contracts signed with various entities, transforming agriculture in Albania.
“Since 2018, more than 100 million euros of investments have been made in agriculture, with 260 contracts signed with various entities, transforming agriculture in Albania. We have already paid 72 entities, and others are in the process as contracts are signed at different times.
One of the mechanisms to finance agriculture is through banks, another is microfinance, and grants are preferred because they do not need to be repaid.”