Albanian agri-projects

TIRANA (SeeNews) – Albania will launch agricultural projects worth a total of 6.5 million euros this year, to be financed through the European Union’s Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilization (CARDS) program, an official said yesterday. The funds are being extended through the CARDS 2005 and 2006 programs and will finance four projects, Agriculture Ministry spokesman Rexhep Shahu told SeeNews. The largest project, worth 3 million euros and scheduled to begin in October, aims at the setting up of a specialized state-run food control agency. The EU finances will also go toward a 2.2-million-euro cattle health-monitoring project. A cadastre of vineyard lands will be compiled under the third project and the fourth one is aimed at improving livestock registration and the sanitation of animal products processing lines. The EU’s commitments to Albania’s agriculture between 1992 and 2004 are estimated at 56 million euros. Agriculture contributes around 25 percent to Albania’s gross domestic product. Almost half of the country’s labor force of 1.086 million is self-employed in agriculture.

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