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J. Joksimović and Nedimović: New grants for farmers soon

November 01 2021 | Šabac

J. Joksimović and Nedimović: New grants for farmers soon

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimović, together with Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret, have visited the company ABD Prom in Jevremovac to learn about the solar power plant project, which is part of IPARD investment, where they have announced new grants for farmers.Minister Joksimović has recalled the period when IPA funds were unavailable, because the European Commission’s condition was to move the Directorate for Agrarian Payments from Šabac to the administrative centre of Belgrade, which was done by Minister Nedimović in 2016, thus releasing EUR 175 million for the seven-year period (2014–2020).

She has noted that one of the examples is the project of a solar power plant in ABD Prom cold storage. Minister Joksimović has announced new grants.

“What is coming is the new seven-year period 2021–2027. We should have EUR 288 million in grants available for projects in the area of agriculture, of which around 40 % will be intended for renewable energy sources, green agriculture and agro-business”, stressed Joksimović, noting that this is an example and an invitation to producers to dive into similar projects.

Joksimović has stressed that the new IPARD 3 tranche will particularly focus on projects supporting gender equality and participation of women in these projects.

“Today, we have around 23 % of women who have applied within projects so far, and now we will pay special attention to this, as well as to youth projects. Every 14th person who has applied for projects regarding agricultural production is younger than 40. The average age of the farm owners who have applied so far is 61.”

“In the upcoming projects, we will have to encourage young people to apply and to stay on their land, since it is the only way to promote agricultural production and balanced regional development”, stressed Joksimović.

She has noted that Serbia has to work on environmental protection, change the ways of production and use what is available, meaning EU funds.Minister Branislav Nedimović has expressed satisfaction at the fact that this project helped the Jakovljević family to make their dream come true and manage to solve the problems of electricity costs.

“I talked to him and he told me that electricity costs were 8 to 10 %. Do you know what it means when you don’t have these costs and when your investment returns in four years? If it weren’t for IPARD, that would take ten years. Just image, in the next 15–20 years, how long these panels last, he will not have that expense, that money will remain as a profit that he can use to invest further. On the other hand, he is a pioneer, whose own example is showing that we are moving Serbian agriculture several steps ahead, in the technical and technological sense”, said Nedimović.

“What he did will be an example for entire Serbia”, added the Minister of Agriculture. He has recalled that there were similar reactions to the introduction of cow milking robots, announcing a new competition for robotisation by the end of December.

According to him, the goal is to digitalise agriculture, so that farmers could apply electronically and follow the entire process, which would accelerate the processing of applications and increase transparency. Nedimović has emphasised that Serbian agriculture has recorded good results this year in terms of export.

“This year, we will certainly exceed 5 billion dollars in export that we could only dream of ten years ago. It was no more than 2 billion dollars then. With these and similar projects – and don’t forget that we’ve now had two large projects through IPARD, one for Measure 3 and one for Measure 7 – and it is through this that we’ve placed the largest amounts of money. Fast announcements will ensue, because we must conduct the process fast. That is why I am glad that me and my colleagues will negotiate IPARD 3 fast. I can already hear ‘doubting Thomases’ saying that IPARD 2 is nearing completion and that there will be no more projects, but it is already there, and I think we will initiate it by June.”

“With the Serbian money for agriculture, where the amounts will be significantly increased in 2022 compared to 2021, on one hand, and on the other hand, we have joint World Bank projects, so I can now invite farmers to apply, and we will do our best to realise it as soon as possible”, stressed Nedimović.

Aleksandar Jakovljević, the owner of the cold storage, has stated that, owing to this investment, his dream came true and he managed to do the things he had seen abroad.

“When I went abroad to attend fairs or for any other occasion, I saw solar panels that had existed for years there, and then I started dreaming about installing them for myself. When the Regulation calling for the applications for such a project came out in early 2019, I quickly decided to pursue it and started gathering the necessary documentation for IPARD programme, which lasted five or six months as it was extensive and demanding. However, I was relieved because all the facilities had the exploitation permit, which was mandatory for the application. So, on 24 December 2019 I was among the first to submit the application for this project that you are seeing here today”, said the owner of ABD Prom, Aleksandar Jakovljević.

He has said that this is an investment that saves money, with a tendency to profit in the future.

The power of the solar power plant is nearly 600 kW.

Jakovljević has said that, during the summer months, when they freeze fruit and spend electricity the most, i.e. in May, June, July, August and September, it produces five times more energy, which is enough for their needs and that everything else is a surplus that they can return into the electricity system. “It is a big thing, as in times like these and given the energy demand, we have our own energy. The investment is not small, so my colleagues wondered how I was willing to take out such a loan and accept such an obligation in the amount of 72 million with VAT. However, when the project was realised, they saw that everything was all right and that the repayment term would certainly be shorter than expected because electricity prices had skyrocketed”, noted Jakovljević.

Giaufret has said that this is a great contribution to agriculture and has announced new grants.

“We’ve come to visit this fantastic project through which the EU and Serbia joined forces to introduce some changes in agriculture. You can see that this project increased the activity of the company and its competitiveness, and an important segment of this project is that it is environmentally friendly”.

He has thanked Minister Nedimović, Minister Joksimović and the owners of the company for the invitation and the opportunity to see how the idea came to life and how something good was done for Serbian agriculture.

“The EU has been cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture for a long time, and a long time ago, we allocated EUR 175 million within IPARD. This money will be able to generate investments worth EUR 600 million in agriculture. And since we want to do even more, we are currently discussing the next phase of IPARD 3, where we will allocate as much as EUR 280 million, all in grants, which, along with co-financing from Serbia and the companies themselves, will contribute even more to agriculture”, stated Giaufret.

He has added that their wish is to achieve even more, and that, to this end, they are discussing the measures necessary for the improvement of local communities with the ministry.

“We are making excellent results. Since we started applying measures, export in Serbia doubled in the field of agriculture, and more than a half of those exports go to EU countries.

Aleksandar Pajić, the Mayor of Šabac, has stressed that the use of renewable energy sources in the city reduces electricity consumption, adding that the produced surplus is returned into the system, which is proof that a vision of one man can have huge benefits for the entire society.

Source: Tanjug