The project "Bio.Re.Goal - To enhance the institutional and regulatory framework for organic food production in Albania" concluded its activities yesterday 3 February, with an international conference at Rogner Hotel in Tirana. The event - titled "Perspectives and challenges connected to the implementation of the new EU regulation" - brought together representatives from all the Western Balkan Region to present the project results targeting Albania. The gathering also hosted a round table that explored the possible alignment of laws in the different Balkan countries with the new European regulation, aimed at promoting a more harmonised and fair market in the Region by encouraging sustainable agriculture for protecting biodiversity, for facing global challenges of climate change, and meeting the growing consumer demand.
The overall objective of the project was to encourage the alignment of the legal framework of the organic food production in Albania with the EU acquis and its implementation. It supported the progress with the implementation of action plans for the acquis alignment in chapters 11 “Agriculture and Rural Development” and the fulfilment of given benchmarks in the chapter. This was achieved by increasing the skills and capacities of MARD public officers. They benefitted from information and knowledge exchange with international expertise on issues concerning quality standards, organic food, traceability, and sustainable agrifood production models.
The main stakeholders involved in the development of organic agriculture in Albania in addition to the MARD were the Institute for Organic Agriculture, the Albanian Association for Marketing, and Albinspekt (a certification body). In this context, the project strengthened and improved the efficiency of the institutions in the organic sector which will, therefore, be able to guarantee future sustainability of the intervention. In addition, the project activities also aimed at raising awareness on organic agriculture policies and instruments addressed to consumers and SMEs at national level.
Bio.Re.Goal was co-financed in the framework of the CEI Know-how Exchange Programme, contributed by Italy through the CEI Fund at the EBRD. It was coordinated by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CHIEM), Italy and supported by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry. The project know-how provider CIHEAM Bari – with its huge experience on valorisation and qualification of organic quality products, food safety and consumers’ health protection including support to small local businesses – addressed the needs of the Albanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in terms of institutional capacity building. This, also thanks to synergies with important international networks such as IFOAM, a global network of organic stakeholders.
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