Skopje, 5th June 2012 (MIA) – Government measure to provide EUR 10.7 million for agriculture was today’s topic at the meeting between Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, Ljupco Dimovski, with representatives of companies in the agriculture sector.

Farmers expressed their contentment with the adopted measures and conditions offered. Funds will be available at the beginning of July, being easier to access and with lower costs.

– We have provided almost EUR 11 million fresh funds to support one of the strategic sectors in Macedonia, that being a sector that includes companies that purchase, process and export agricultural products, Minister Stavreski said after the meeting. According to him, this measure is part of the systemic efforts of the Government to support agriculture, starting with the large amount of subsidies that reached EUR 500 million during the past five years, through resolving the land issue, improving the quality standards, as well as provide support as regards the seasonal oscillations and the problem the companies, which purchase agricultural products or process and export them, face. The Government, he said, intervenes with this new measure, which will provide funds under exceptionally favourable conditions, not existing in the last 20 years. He added that interest of only 3% will help the companies engaged in purchasing or processing and exporting products overcome liquidity problems from the moment of purchasing to the moment of placement and collection of claims and, at the same time, it will help farmers, since thus they will have greater security that they will get paid by the companies.

Funds will be allocated directly through Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion, so as for they to be faster available and with lower costs for the companies. The interest is 3%. Maximum amount will be EUR 300,000, however, upon request at today’s meeting, the Government will consider the possibility to increase the amount up to EUR 500,000 when purchasing certain strategic products, like wheat, grape and other vegetables.

According to Minister Stavreski, funds will be used in an earmarked manner and the Bank will apply the same standards applied by the other commercial banks in Macedonia. Inspectorate will be put into operation to check the utilization of funds, i.e. to check, in line with the signed agreement, whether all requirements are adhered to and whether funds are used in an adequate manner.

– Be assured that, taking into account the troubled times and the difficulty in providing these funds, we will be very careful for every Denar to be used properly and for the intended purpose. For both the companies doing the purchase or the processing and the farmers themselves to be satisfied, Stavreski emphasized.

Minister Dimovski pointed out that, during the meeting, representatives of the agriculture sector expressed their support for the measures discussed at the meeting. In addition to EUR 10.7 million for the farmers, requests for legalization of agricultural machinery and facilities on agricultural land were also discussed, and 850 ha state-owned land was provided to be allocated to socially vulnerable categories.

– We had constructive discussions, all issues were open, we were even presented good ideas to be additionally considered in the coming period, Dimovski underlined.

Stojmirka Tasevska from the Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia expressed gratitude for the acceptance of their requests for provision of funds under favourable conditions, as well as for legalization of facilities on agricultural land.

– We have been submitting requests for provision of funds under favourable conditions for years now, the main argument being to resolve the issue of purchase of agricultural products taking into account the seasonal character, Tasevska pointed out, adding that а difficult problem companies faced was purchasing of the year-round production of a certain crop, being paid in two months, and export being realized in the next 12 months.

She also added that they were satisfied with the possibility to be able to elaborate the requests in more details in future according to the current conditions of our companies.

Marija Miteva from “Skovin” Winery also supported the measures presented at the meeting.

– We, who are engaged in the processing industry and purchase large quantities of grape, need these funds. The credits are favourable with 3% interest. Thus, purchase of grape will be made easier for us, contributing to respecting the vine-growers and building long-term relations with them, Miteva said.

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