The farmers across Serbia have been officially presented with the IPARD fund grants intended for the purchase of machinery and equipment worth about EUR 3 million. On the occasion, the Agriculture Minister, Branislav Nedimovic, announced a public call for the submission of applications for the allocation of a new tranche of EUR 25 million was also announced.
Nedimovic, the Serbian European Integration Minister, Jadranka Joksimovic and the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, officially handed over the grants to the farmers who had applied for funding from the 3rd IPARD Programme Competition, totalling EUR 175 million for Serbia.
According to Nedimovic, the allocated grants range from 10,000 to 600,000 euro, to be used exclusively for the purchase of agricultural machinery.
The Agriculture Minister added that there were more grants to come – close to 200 – which would be allocated in November this year.
At the official ceremony that took place on Tuesday, 23rd October, a total of 3 million euro worth of grants were handed over with the biggest grants amounting between 72mln and 77mln dinars, and the lowest 1.2mln dinars to be spent on purchasing a trailer.
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“Today, we have announced a new, fourth call for submission of funding applications. These funds are intended for building agriculture-related properties and acquisition of equipment (cold storage units and such). The available amount is 25 million euro, a sum equal to the funding from the previous three calls”, said Nedimovic.
A new call for submission of applications will be launched in December and the Minister promises that all of the applicants will get some funding.
He also said that there won’t be a single fault in allocating and spending IPARD funds, and that calls encompass all the funds available for Serbia from IPARD, as well as that won’t be any problems with the withdrawal of the funds.
The minister added that Serbia was ready to open chapter 11 (agriculture and rural development) in the EU accession negotiations.
“As far as we are concerned, we have met the conditions required for the opening of Chapter 11. A few days ago, the Serbian Government adopted a relevant Action Plan so we are ready. We are currently determining our negotiating position. If they are willing to open this chapter, good for us. If they are not, there is nothing we can do”, Nedimovic said in reply to a journalist’s question.
Sem Fabrizi said that 175 million euro was set aside from the EU programme for additional investments in the Serbian agricultural sector and that that amount, with additional co-financing, could grow to 400 million euro.
“We want to provide proper tools for people who are engaged in agriculture”, he said, adding that the money was intended for the purchase of better agricultural machinery and modernization, such as the purchase of tractors, greenhouses, irrigation systems, etc.
He assessed that agriculture was an important economic branch in Serbia and told the grant recipients that they had to be competitive.
“The export of agricultural products from Serbia to the EU has doubled, even tripled already”, Fabrizi added.
The European Integration Minister, Jadranka Joksimovic that the grants were the perfect example of the reasons why Serbia chose to embark on the EU integration process.
As she pointed out, Serbia, as a candidate country, was already using EU grants through the IPARD, with 175 million euro available by the year 2020.
According to Joksimovic, Serbia has completed a rather demanding process of acquiring IPARD funds in order to make its agriculture more competitive and ready for the demanding European market.
Photo credits: Tanjug / Dimitrije Goll
This post is also available in: Italiano