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Euractiv reveals the government: Albanian farmers receive 3 euros of support, 18 times less than the countries of the region

Euractiv reveals the government: Albanian farmers receive 3 euros of support, 18

Over 22,000 Albanian farmers have applied for subsidies from the state in just two days, leading to a situation where the online system struggled to cope with the influx and farmers showed up at government buildings to hand in the files.

The Ministry of Agriculture offers farmers subsidies for free fuel, renovation of fishing vessel infrastructure, support for the construction of agricultural markets and in areas such as livestock, beekeeping and organic farms.

With the online application system partially suspended on Monday, farmers faced long queues at government buildings since 5 am. Others said that the elderly mostly had difficulty with the online system.

" Now, we have been here since five in the morning. Men in their 70s and 80s are waiting here. Now let's see what happens; if they do not lie to us, we will receive; if they lie to us, we will get nothing. We entered once, but we left because we couldn't stand it, " said another citizen, describing the queues in Korça, one of the main agricultural areas of the country, writes Euractiv .

The main focus of this year's funding is the livestock sector, with 60% of the allocated funds of 28.9 million euros. Livestock farmers with a minimum of 10 cows worth up to €87 per head, sheep farmers with no less than 100 sheep or goats worth up to €10 per head, and beekeepers with up to €8 a hive will be able to benefit from the scheme.

Organic farmers can receive almost 900 euros per year to support their work.

But the number of applications has surprised the ministry with about 17,841 applications on the first day and more than 3000 on the second day.

About 40% of the applications were for free oil, as a result of the increase in prices after the war in Ukraine. Also, the total agricultural area needed to benefit from the subsidy has increased from 0.4 hectares to 1 hectare, which means that they will benefit more.

Agriculture contributes to about 20% of Albania's annual gross domestic product. But more than that, it provides essential food for many people who do not work outside the agricultural sector and rely on agriculture for food.

However, according to a 2022 report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Albanian farmers receive some of the lowest subsidies in the region.

The FAO report shows that Albanian farmers receive only 3 euros of direct support per hectare from the state, while 42 euros go to institutions and entities that monitor the agricultural sector. This is the opposite of the situation in other countries where most funds go directly to the farmer.

Në Kosovë, 69 euro për hektar shkojnë për fermerin dhe 54 euro për administratën, ndërsa në Bosnje, 66 euro për hektar shkojnë për fermerin dhe 60 për administratën.

Mesatarisht, vendet e Ballkanit Perëndimor dhanë rreth 53 euro për hektar fermerëve të tyre, ndërsa në Shqipëri kjo shifër ishte 18 herë më pak me vetëm 3 euro.

Me këtë nivel financimi, në raport thuhej se shteti nuk ofron asistencë të mjaftueshme për fermerët për të përballuar konkurrencën në treg, për të parandaluar shpopullimin rural apo për të rritur produktivitetin. Si i tillë, vendi duhet të rrisë urgjentisht financimin e drejtpërdrejtë dhe të përmirësojë funksionimin e institucioneve në mënyrë që fondet të absorbohen siç duhet.

To meet EU criteria, Albania must share the equivalent of a third of what it expects in EU funding. Therefore, Albania must quintuple its allocation for agriculture.

In 2021, about 41% of Albanians worked in the agricultural sector, but most received no salary.

Albania is also a beneficiary of the EU's IPARD III programme, which will see around 112 million euros of EU funds earmarked for domestic agriculture between 2001 and 2027. The Albanian government will add to the EU figure of and another 34 million euros, bringing the total to 146 million euros.

 

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