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Higher food safety requires more agricultural inspectors and advisers

21/05/2019 - 17:20
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Increasing the number of agricultural inspectors and advisors is deemed necessary in order to have greater food safety in Kosovo. Increasing the quality of 'bio' products and production is considered an important step for domestic products to penetrate the European Union market

 

Kamenica, 21 May – The Mayor of Kamenica Municipality, Qëndron Kastrati, said that his municipality has a great advantage in terms of agricultural development, since 70 percent of its territory is made of hilly and mountainous areas.

Kastrati said that citizens' awareness has been raised to invest in this field, considering that about forty grantees that have benefited from Ministry of Agriculture grants this year; while in previous years there were no more than eight grantees.

"In recent years, the budget for subsidies for all the categories was €9,925, which entails not only subsidies for agriculture, but for every field. What we have achieved and what we are seeking from the central level is to allocate additional funds and, in this regard, both last year and this year, we have managed to get a fund, which was not sufficient, but made for a support and orientation at the least, so to speak... We, as a state, must reduce bureaucracy in terms of allocation of subsidies and grants..." Kastrati said.

Tahir Halitaj, a representative from the Agricultural Advisory Department operating within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, said that the Ministry has drafted additional mechanisms to fully implement European Union standards. However, according to him, policies for grantees must be adjusted for small producers as well.

"We too consider that we need advisors that implement the standards; the number of advisers is limited, because of the government budget, and more employees cannot be hired, but we have a certification mechanism for private consultants and licensing companies that complement us with advice in the field...” Halitaj said.

Sabedin Kadriu, Regional Coordinator for Gjilan/Gnjilane with the KFVA, said that inspectors are trying, with the small capacities that they have available, to provide for food safety for the citizens of the region.

"As far as food safety is concerned, I said in the beginning that we are doing the utmost, but with the current capacity, the capacity of the workforce i.e. the number of inspectors that we have currently is very small" he said.

The debate on agriculture in Kosovo was conducted within the frame of the "Support to Communication in European Integration Process" Project, funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo, in cooperation with the Ministry of European Integration.

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