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Agricultural Standards and Certifications, Capacity Building for Absorption of Funds and Marketing Strategies to Support Economic Growth and Trade

Project Title
Agricultural Standards and Certifications, Capacity Building for Absorption of Funds and Marketing Strategies to Support Economic Growth and Trade
Type of Contract/Category
Grant contract
IPA Component/ (national or regional) Programming year
IPA 2, Cross Border Cooperation: former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Republic of Albania, Allocations 2014-2015
Lead applicant and co-applicants
Lead Applicant o CBS Creative Business Solutions Co-applicants o Municipality of Debar o RDA2 Regional Development Agency 2-Tirana

Albania and Macedonia agriculture plays a crucial role in national and region economy by constantly increasing sector contribution in GDP and total employment. Both Governments and EU consider Agriculture as one main pillar and great potential sector for future economic growth. At the meantime, economic importance of agriculture and future development require agribusinesses to improve their internal capabilities to compete on domestic, regional and EU markets which remains one of the biggest challenge that both countries have to deal.

In Albania, agriculture is the main contributor in terms of macroeconomic indicators. Agriculture accounts for 18% of the national GDP and about 48% of the workforce is employed in the sector. The value of agricultural production is increased from EUR 1,565 million to EUR 2,082 million. Imports of agro-food products have increased by 20% in 2015 compared to 2010, while exports have more than doubled for the same period relying 230% increase. Trade deficit is growing at lower rate, but the trade imbalance is still a big challenge for the sector. Export growth is mainly due to the increase of the fruits and vegetables exports and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.

Agriculture and livestock breeding are the main economic drivers for Peshkopia region. Agriculture and livestock contribution to the regional GDP is 47% and it employs 2/3 of total population. There are over 26,000 farms in Dibra Region dealing primarily with Fruits and Nuts, Meat and Dairy, and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs).

In Macedonia, Agriculture is the third largest economic sector after services. Agriculture contribution to GDP was around 9% in the period 2008-2012 and increased to 13% in 2015. There are about 192,675 farms registered in Macedonia according to the last agricultural census. In the recent years there is a growing trend of agriculture enterprises and a decrease of family farms, which implies that family farms are turning into agriculture enterprises. Despite significant growth of agro products exports, reaching for the first time $ 504 million value in 2013, Macedonia still remains a net importer, especially for meat and its by-products, cereals and fodder, fish and fish products, citrus fruits, wheat, fodder etc.

Recent analyses have identified that in both countries, farmers and agribusinesses have limited access to finance, low standards, outdated technology and equipment, poor marketing and management skills, etc. All these combined factors, hamper Agriculture to be competitive and access international markets. Also, regardless of the national and foreign donors grant schemes available in both countries, funds absorption rate remain very low especially in Albania. The main reasons identified are low awareness and inability of agribusinesses to complete appropriately application and submission of required documentation.

Abstract (short project summary)

Despite the importance of agriculture sector to their national economies, Albania and Macedonia remain net importers of agro and food products. Agribusinesses in both countries have made a huge progress during last decade, but further development and upgrade of standards and technical skills are needed. Compliance with national and EU standards regarding food safety, welfare and occupational safety have to improve.

This project will implement a comprehensive solution combining technical and practical expertise for a long and sustainable impact. To tackle these common problems and challenges, the project aims to empower agribusinesses through products certifications and provision of advanced technical assistance in the entire chain with regard to increase competitiveness and exploit access to new markets.

Project’ Mission is to Strengthening Agriculture SME’s productive capacity and access to European markets through Certification of Food Safety Standards, Capacity Building to Absorb EU Funds as well as development of Marketing Strategies;

This is a regional 2-year project financed by European Union in the framework of Cross-border Programme, under the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) allocations for 2014 & 2015. The project will implement its activities by an important and strategic partnership between CBS, Municipality of Debar and Regional development Agency 2 – Tirana.


The project will generate a considerable impact ensuring economic benefit for local SME’s in both regions. The project will Certify a total of 20 Agribusinesses with four internationally recognized certifications including HACCP, ISO2200, GlobalGAp and Organic, will facilitate the submission of full grant application packages for at least 15 Agribusinesses, and will provide Integrated Consultancy Services for Marketing Strategies including branding, labelling and digital marketing for 20 Agribusinesses. The intervention activities will be combined with provision of tailored and advance training sessions in order to enhance awareness on the importance of certifications and to increase awareness for available Grant and Alternative Financing investments opportunities to enhance absorbing skills.

Final beneficiary
Farmers, Agribusinesses and local economy in Peshkopia and Debar region
Action location/s
Peshkopia and Debar Region

Specific objective is to certify producers and processors of Meat & Dairy, Fruit & Nuts and MAP (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants) with international recognized certification of food Safety and Standards, incentivize trade in EU markets and increase productivity through enhancement of internal capacities (in terms of production, management and marketing)


Through a unique approach by combining technical and practical expertise the project will respond to the programme objectives by achieving maximum results around three main activities:


Activity 1: Certification of agribusinesses and provision of Tailored Trainings in order to enhance awareness on the importance of certifications.

· Tailored Trainings to increase awareness of 90 agribusinesses about the importance of key safety standards and certifications

· Assisting agribusinesses to comply with Key Agriculture Standards and Certifications

· Implementation of Food Safety Standards Certifications for 20 Agribusinesses

· Certification of 20 agribusinesses through 4 internationally recognised food safety certifications including GlobalG.A.P, HACCP, ISO22000, Organic


Activity 2: Preparation of grant application packages combined with capacity building trainings offered to agribusinesses to increase fund absorption capacity

· Training of 180 Agribusinesses in order to increase awareness for available Grant and Alternative Financing investments opportunities and increase absorbing skills

· Facilitate the submission of full grant application packages for at least 15 Agribusinesses


Activity 3: Integrated Consultancy Services for Marketing Strategies including branding, labelling and digital product promotion

· Provide customized marketing strategies for 20 Agribusinesses

· Building Agribusinesses Brand Identity

· B2B / Trade Fair to Connect Agribusinesses with national and international markets


The project presents a structured plan to achieve the outcomes the methodology consists on a catalytic approach.



­ 20 Certified Agribusinesses through four certifications – GlobalG.A.P, HACCP, ISO22000, Organic. Up to 15% of the certified number of agribusinesses will be owned and/or managed by women

­ 15 Business Plans provided

­ 12 Advanced Trainings conducted

­ 90 participants trained

­ 180 employees / participants trained

­ 20 Marketing strategies developed

­ B2B / Agriculture Fair Event organized

­ Increase Visibility for Certified Agribusinesses

­ 20 dedicated professional articles in for certified agribusinesses



­ Increased annual turnover of agribusinesses targeted by the project

­ Increase awareness and understanding on the importance of key standards and certifications for Agribusinesses

­ Increase number of new employees with higher education background

­ Enhance Internal Capacities through tailored Trainings to agribusinesses

­ Increase SME’s expertize and better absorption of EU / alternative funds schemes

­ Customised Creative Marketing Strategies for agribusinesses developed

­ Digital Media Presence and Digital Product Promotion Strengthened

­ Visibility of Certified Agribusinesses to domestic and international reach increased

­ New business links established

Facts & Figures

The key facts figures relevant to the project:

• Project duration: 24 months

• Start date of the project: 01. December. 2017

• End date of the project: 01. December. 2019


• Cost of the action:  € 310,000

• EU contribution: € 263,500

• EU contribution percentage: 85%

Final useful footnotes

Creative Business Solutions (CBS)

Rruga Mustafa Matohiti, No.4 Tirana, Albania

Contact Person: Mr Ilir Pilku / Director of Agribusiness Department


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