Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please allow me to express my appreciation for the event and my gratitude toward Minster Glamoçiç for hosting the 7th annual Ministers meeting and for the great Serbia hospitability.
lso, I praise the staff of SWG for contributing in organizing this event which as always gives an excellent opportunity of sharing experience which Increase substantially the benefits regional development.
The Albanian Agriculture continues to be one of the main sectors of the economy, generating about 17.7 % of GDP and providing employment for around 55% of the total employed. In this context, the Rural Development policies offer a reliable tool in reducing poverty. The GDP of Albania increased at a relatively strong and stable annual rate of about 4 % in the recent years. The inflation rate remained stable at around 3% for the whole period. The European Union is by far the most important trading partner of Albania. In 2012, the EU accounted for 68% of exports and 52% of imports of the total Albanian foreign trade volume. As for regional trade, agriculture and livestock exports to account for 21 % during the year 2012 and imports with the regional countries are 13.7 % in the year 2012.
The most predominant problems of the Albanian Agriculture sector are: The agriculture land is very fragmented and far from being consolidated (average of 1.2 ha - compared to 23 ha in EU-25); the small size of farms and agro-processing enterprises makes it difficult to introduce modern technology in agro-processing
The way we are dealing with the above challenges is what we worth consider to exchange ideas and build bridges with our neighbors and regional partners. Therefore, the Albanian government is committed to continue actively participate in the EU cooperation policy, by promoting sustainable development in the cross-border area. The development of agriculture in the context of the European Integration makes us interested to each-others development activities.
With the long term vision to EU membership and the efforts made so far for responding to the criteria for receiving the status of a Candidate Country, we are very pleased that Albania has now very close to obtain the status of candidate country.
We are aware that much still need to be done before we are ready for membership, but this decision is an important step on the way.
The Albanian Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and water Administration begins the ambitious and challenging work on elaborating a rural development policy for Albania with the preparation of the t Rural Development Programme under IPARD 2(2014-2020). We have designated the institutions required. The Managing Authority (Rural Development Policies Department) within the MARDWA has been designated to be responsible for preparation and monitoring of the IPARD program. The Agency for Agricultural and Rural Development (ARDA, also called the paying agency) has been established to implement the support measures in the agricultural, food and rural development sector. It has also been designated as the future IPARD agency in charge of implementation of pre-accession and post accession measures.
The establishment of such policies and institutions, together with the approximation of the legislation with the EU, does not necessarily mean that we can proclaim a “success story”, but it constitutes the basis of a historical process for our country and for developing in the agricultural sector and rural areas.
The enlargement context requires collaboration and guidance among us. As most of our countries are in different stages of the accession process, it is important to learn from each other and tries to avoid repeating mistakes of each other and engage in a constructive and precious exchange experiences.
Albania continues to play a constructive role in maintaining regional stability and fostering good neighborly relations with other Western Balkan and EU countries. As far as the regional cooperation is concerned in South Eastern Europe in the field of agriculture and rural development, the Republic of Albania is strongly committed to continue its active role and participate in all the activities which are strengthening the regional cooperation.
The Albanian Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration is one of the founders of the SWG RRD as a regional initiative. We support the activities for regional cooperation initiated by the SWG. However we think that over the coming years we could have a mutual interest in developing a more consistent exchange of experience in the process of EU integration. This could include cooperation in other sub-sectors such as food safety, or other fields which are of high relevance to the Ministries of Agriculture of South Eastern Europe.
We have followed with interest the activities of the SWG, supported by the EC, to support local development in cross border areas through the implementation of area based development programmes in selected areas in the region. I am particularly pleased to see that the selected areas also include Albanian municipalities in the Shara Mountain and Prespa lake regions.
I would like to confirm that we will actively support these initiatives, politically and financially within our means, to facilitate to successful implementation of these programmes to the benefit of the rural population in these areas.
© Ministria e Bujqësisë, Zhvillimit Rural dhe Administrimit të Ujërave 2017 - Të gjitha të drejtat e rezervuara.