AGRICULTURE FUND APPROVES SUBSIDIES FOR PROJECTS UNDER SAPARD
Twenty agricultural producers signed on Tuesday (June 18) contracts with the Agriculture State Fund for getting subsidies under the EU's SAPARD programme. Approved investment projects are worth a total of BGN12,697,230. Added to the investments, approved since June 2001 (when financing under SAPARD began), their aggregate amount totals BGN108,213,156, The Executive Director of the Agriculture Fund Assen Droumev specified. (The fund was authorized to act as a payment agency for this EU pre-accession programme.) The commission for choice of projects has approved a total of 156 proposals - 50 till December 21, 2001 and 106 during its four sessions in 2002. So far BGN8,358,023 for 29 projects have been completely utilized, Mr. Droumev pointed out. The most popular subsidies, according to experts of the Agriculture Fund, are those for the purchase of agricultutal equipment, included in the so-called first measure - Investments in Farms. The great interest toward them is explained with the coming harvest.At its recent session the commission allowed allocation of subsidies for the construction of silos and poultry farms and for equipping them. Such a project was presented to the Agriculture Fund by the company Pilkom from Veliko Tirnovo. BGN680,000 is necessary for its implementation. The money will be spent for equipping four buildings for poultry-breeding, spreading on a total area of 1,560 sq. m, the company's Manager Yordan Tsonev told the BANKER weekly. Mr. Tsonev believes there can be no efficient production without technological development. After the introduction of European stanadards and full automation Mr. Tsonev expects the number of raised broilers to go up to 120,000. Thus he hopes to reduce their prime cost and cope with the competition of the imported American chicken drumsticks which are currently sold at BGN2.50/kg. Pilkom's Manager claims that the rules for getting subsidies are clear - transparent operation and fair financial performance.Six weeks were necasary for the company Reya Fish to prepare and defend in front of the Agriculture Fund its investment intentions for BGN1,780,000. Its project is one of those, which are about to allay misgivings that the EUR54MN, released annually by the EU, won't be utilized. A tendency is observed that the projects are increasing both in number and worth, Lyubo Djambazov, Director of the Agriculture Fund commented.Reya Fish will utilize the subsidy from SAPARD to increase the capacity of its fish-processing enterprise in Dispat, which has so far been making frozen fish products, intended for export to Germany.By the expansion and certification of canned, smoked and marinaded fish products and roe spread, the company will closed the production cycle.According to Agriculture Fund experts, the performace of processing firms is still unsatisfactory. We encourage the farm products processing enterprises to be more active and aplly for subsidies from SAPARD, Mr. Djambazov commented in front of teh BANKER weekly. Their interest to the EU programme is an indication of the direction in which the Act on Assisting Farmers should be amended. The changes are expected to be approved by Parliament before its summer recess. There is some talk that the philosophy of the legislative act will be radically changed, and more specificly that crediting will be redirected to processing enterprises, and through them - to farmers.