Agriculture, the sector with the most potential for foreign investmentsPrishtina, 18 november 2015 Agriculture is without a doubt among the most important fields to the economy of Kosovo, with great potential, that can also draw foreign investments. Given the importance of agriculture, the Government has placed it among the main priorities, continuously increasing the budget for agriculture.
Agriculture is without a doubt among the most important fields to the economy of Kosovo, with great potential, that can also draw foreign investments. Given the importance of agriculture, the Government has placed it among the main priorities, continuously increasing the budget for agriculture. This is what Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Memli Krasniqi said in the two-day USAID conference on "Investment opportunities in Kosovo agribusiness", which is being held in the hotel "Emerald" in Prishtina, where are participating local and foreign investors, who have continually supported the agricultural sector in Kosovo, as well as representatives of local institutions and local agribusinesses.
During the conference, Minister Krasniqi has presented the achievements in agriculture, as well as the supporting program by the ministry for the next year, and the opportunities for investment in the agricultural sector.
With the government support to the agriculture sector domestic production increased by 26% in the past two years, which has directly contributed to the replacement of the import and improved trade balance. With our support we have also constantly increased agricultural land cultivated with different crops, and with this are increased the yields of these crops. Meanwhile, through investment grants we have created about 15,000 new jobs during 2009-2013 period and have supported about 10,000 existing jobs during this period, pointed out Minister Krasniqi, stating that the supporting budget for farmers for this year was 43 million euro, where 20 million were planned in grants and 23 million in subsidies.
The minister has also pointed out that 2016 marks a new phase because now we will have access to a market of 500 million consumers, after the signing of the SAA. "Agriculture benefits almost the most at this point, since about 2500 products will have customs tariffs removed with the EU. I know that we still don't have enough production but this opening of the doors increases the motivation to increase the capacities. We will have a budget of at least the same amount as this year, but the important thing is that we don't have the decrease, which will enable us to focus on strategic sectors and sub-sectors, such as fruits and vegetables as well as meat and milk. Here we have shown the potential and opportunities and is more favorable for farmers for prices and business as well", stated Krasniqi.
However, he said that their primary commitment remains interaction with each party, as only this way the needs and problems in the agricultural sector are clearly addressed.
On the other hand, the director of USAID in Kosovo, James Hope, said that Kosovo is a country with great agricultural potential and this, according to him makes it, as a more convenient place for investment, since the workforce is not lacking either.
During two days of conferences there will be many good presentations where each participant will learn about the agricultural and climatic conditions in Kosovo which are quite ideal. In addition farmers in Kosovo are adopting food safety standards and proactively are applying these standards in order to meet market needs, stated director Hope. USAID, according to him is dedicated to promote the further development of entrepreneurship and will further continue to support the agriculture sector through a partnership with the Government of Kosovo.
The two-day conference is being attended by more than 200 local and international participants and it aims to bring together international investors and Kosovo agribusinesses.