We are leaders in the region with 98% allocation, zero euro return of funds for the entire IPARD 2 period and the first in the region to start the IPARD 3 Programme
Organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Supply, today in Skopje was held an event to officially mark the kick-start the IPARD 3 Programme. The event was attended by the Vice Prime Minister in charge of European Affairs, Mr. Bojan Maricic, mayors, representatives of socio-economic partners, LAGs, representatives of the Planning Regions, associations and farmers. At the event, its own address gave the Vice Prime Minister, Mr. Maricic, the Minister Nikolovski and the Director of the Payment Agency, Mr. Nikica Bachovski.
"IPARD is our success story, we are leaders in the region. A small country like ours has managed to be in the leadership position, in competition with countries with twice its size and EU member countries. The proof is that we have as many investments as Serbia, Montenegro and Albania together! We are leaders on three grounds. We have the highest allocation of 98% of the funds from the IPARD 2 program having had 2369 contracts, zero euro return of funds for the entire IPARD 2 period and we are the first in the region to start the IPARD 3 Programme. Success measured in millions of euros invested at home! Success translated into investments according to European standards for the modernization of agriculture and increased rural development," said Minister Nikolovski.
In his address, Nikolovski pointed out that many new processing facilities, facilities for rural tourism, farms, modern agricultural mechanization, irrigation systems and small businesses from rural areas have been implemented. The new facilities mean increased production, new jobs, enlarged rural tourism and an increased domestic economy. We are very delighted for the fact that out of 2369 contracts, 859 are young farmers, whose investments in agriculture amount to 9 million euros. And what gives even more weight to these figures is the fact that all investments financed by IPARD meet the strict EU standards.
"This is a new page in the development of Macedonian agriculture, which will increase the export of Macedonian agricultural products to the EU market and will give us a good basis for additional and larger structural European funds, because that is what Union membership brings. And this is a confirmation and the strongest evidence why we are and why we should stay on the European path", emphasized the Vice Prime Minister Maricic.
The new IPARD 3 Programming Period starts with 62% larger budget compared to IPARD 2.
"If under IPARD 2 we had available 60 million euros 2, for IPARD 3 the EU has allocated 97 million euros, which, together with our money for national co-financing, reaches a total of 128 million euros. If we add these 128 million to the Beneficiaries’ own participation funds, the total value of the new investments shall exceed 210 million euros. These funds are intended for the citizens and they will stay at home, converted into new investments in all sectors of agriculture and rural development," underlined Nikolovski.
For the entire IPARD 2 period, the focus of the Government, the Ministry and the Paying Agency was aimed at creating preconditions for a better implementation of the Programme and ultimately - greater allocation of these non-refundable funds.
"The institutions, above all the Ministry and the Agency have invested great efforts in promoting and affirming the Programme in order to inform the end users with all conditions, criteria and rules, improving the image of the program itself and to send a strong message that IPARD does not know religions, nations, affiliations, political prominences. IPARD is here to support anyone who shall approach with a good project," said the director of the Payment Agency, Mr. Nikica Bachovski, and added that the goal of IPARD is to support the agriculture, to encourage rural development and the economy in rural areas.
At the event was presented the new IPARD 3 Programme, which is different from IPARD 2 in several ways. In addition to the already four accredited measures from IPARD 2 shall be accredited additional 4 measures, such as Measure for Rural Public Infrastructure, Measure for Local Development Strategies, Measure for Agri-Environment - Climate and Organic Farming that will contribute to the environment protection and overcoming the impact of climate change and Measure for Advisory Services.
Minister Nikolovski informed the present mayors regarding the new Measure for Rural Public Infrastructure which will be accredited in 2024 and which is intended for the municipalities. Under the measure will be allocated budget of 17 million euros available for investments in renewable energy sources, local road infrastructure, water supply and sewerage for greater development of rural areas. It will be introduced new method of providing the necessary documentation; electronic systems will be used for supplying the documents from the Central Registry, which will simplify, facilitate and speed up the process and reduce costs for users.
And the biggest news is that under IPARD 3 will be possible to make an advance payment of up to 50% of the amount of financial support, immediately after signing the contract, which will be a great relief for the faster realization of all investments and great financial assistance for an easier start of the projects.
In May and June, the Ministry and the Agency will organize an intensive Public Outreach Campaign in all regions, before the announcement of the First Call from the IPARD 3 Programme, which should be announced at the end of June.