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APF 2018 gathered more than 160 relevant stakeholders who shared views on agricultural and rural development policies in the Western Balkans and provided policy recommendations for improving the current situation
APF 2018, “Agricultural Policy: Determinant of the Regional Rural Development and EU Perspectives of the SEE”, was held in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 16 – 18 October 2018. It was organized by the Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in SEE in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It gathered more than 160 representatives of relevant public authorities, civil and private sector, from 15 countries of the SEE region and abroad.
Among other, the Forum concluded that the upcoming reforms of the EU CAP presented a challenge to the SEE countries, in view of aligning their agricultural and trade policies with the EU policies, and, among the SEE countries, to mutually benefit from the trade opportunities it represented. Agricultural policies must have a long-term orientation and should apply the principles of evidence-based policymaking, in line with EU principles. A particular effort should be made to introduce measures to help improve the competitiveness of small farms and rural businesses. Diversifying economic activities in rural areas would increase economic performance, especially emphasizing the agri-food production and rural tourism. To improve the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of agri-environment policies there is a need for a coherent legal framework, enhanced institutional capacities and active cooperation among all stakeholders. Agrobiodiversity is an issue of great importance, which needs special attention also in the agri-environment policies. With the aim of improving the agricultural land market and to increase the small farms’ access to land, a well-defined land policy is needed. The above-mentioned recommendations would contribute to reducing depopulation of the rural areas. The SEE countries should further strengthen regional cooperation in the area of agriculture and rural economy using the existing regional platforms such as SWG, with the aim of improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of the rural areas and smoother EU accession.
Note: News from APF 2018 are communicated through the SWG social media accounts and digital channels. Official #hashtag of the communications regarding the forum is #APF2018.