1- Germany and Denmark give 6.5 million euros supporting the agro-food sector
During April we have received good news from the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration. Together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), the Ministry launched a call for proposals for the grant scheme supporting the agriculture sector in remote and rural areas of Albania, respectively in 6 regions: Shkoder, Kukes, Diber, Elbasan, Berat and Korce. The fund available from the Danish and German government for financing the grant scheme reaches 6.5 million Euros. The program will be implemented for a three year period. Direct beneficiaries will be approximately 1000 farmers, local entrepreneurs dealing with production, collection, processing and marketing of agricultural products in the framework of three chains of value: small ruminats, and fruit and nut trees, as well as medicinal and aromatic herbs. The project aims to develop the economy and the welfare of inhabitants from rural areas. It also aims to increase competitiveness and access to agriculture markets in the six abovementioned regions. The fund will be distributed in 6 regions for 1000 farmers. In fact, what would be of most interest is when we say fruit and nut trees, what exactly is the Ministry referring to, as the regions where the initiative will take place have their specificities in regards to climate, the composition of the land and content of water elements. Let’s hope we will not hear strange news such as: in Korca a number of pomegranate or fig trees were planted, as it is very difficult for such trees to grow in this region because of the aforementioned reasons.
Furthermore, we would require more details on the distribution of funds, who will benefit, what criteria will be used, will there be a control scheme to oversee their work? What guarantees will farmers involved in the scheme give regarding the efficiency of the process? And above all, should we expect justifications such as: these are wood crops and time is needed so they give the first fruits?
Transparency and efficiency is required in order to really fulfill the mission and objective of the initiative, economic development and increase in the welfare of inhabitants in these rural areas. Nowadays rural territories in Albania are faced with the dim prospects and danger of abandonment by their inhabitants, which would transform them into deserted areas and consequently not utilized. It is for this reason that such initiatives become even more important.