AGRICULTURE ECONOMY

Romania draws 7.6 bln euros in EU rural development funds; hits 87pct absorption rate

Romania has hit 87 percent absorption rate of the European Union funds allotted under the National Rural Development Programme (NRDP) 2007 – 2013 and the amounts paid the beneficiaries so far go higher than 7.6 billion euros, show figures communicated by the Agency for Financing Rural Investments to Agerpres on Friday.

Since the NRDP kicked off in 2008, the Agency has received and verified more than 150,000 funding claims worth over 18.5 billion euros of a total 5.9 billion euros available for financing the investment projects. More than 85,000 investment projects have been contracted so far in order to get non-repayable funding, with the allotted funds totalling 5.7 billion euros.

“Besides the clear and unequivocal infusion of more than 7.6 billion euros in the development and upgrading of agriculture and rural infrastructure, the European funds have ensured the increased living standards for those living in the rural area by developing not only the rural economy, but the entire rural space as well. The NRDP also provided for investments in services, in utilities and in supporting all the activities in the rural area. As for farming, 73,000 farmers have benefited from the funds earmarked by the NRDP so far and the number of the agricultural holdings supported in the plant- and animal sectors numbered 2,597”, the Agency representatives explained.

According to them, the granted money was invested in 44,794 hectares protected from flooding and 318,794 hectares upgraded and rehabilitated in terms of the irrigation infrastructure. The money can also be found in more than 100,000 jobs created in the rural area, in some 3,600 kilometres of built agricultural and forest roads and they mean that over 3 million rural locals benefit from the infrastructure created and modernised by the measure for the renovation and development of villages.
A 7,245 km-long network of water supply and sewerage was built for the rural residents. The NRDP impact can also be measured by as many as 3,133 non-farming SMEs and 1,684 projects entailing tourist activities funded by the programme that lay at the foundation of the sustainable recovery of the rural economy.

Part of the money was invested in the rehabilitation of 3,862 kilometres of rural roads as part of 389 projects. The remaining funds went to projects aimed at setting up, extending and modernising 2,900 kilometres of water supply network and 4,345 kilometres of sewerage (272 projects). Three projects targeted the repair and upgrading of the cultural and social infrastructure. Another 723 kilometres of rural roads damaged by the floods in 2010 were repaired by 158 projects.

Major interest in obtaining NRDP funds was showed by the young farmers, with 12,863 of them having signed financing contracts worth 324 million euros; the payments made to them are in excess of 287 million euros.

As regards the modernisation of agricultural holdings, the Agency closed 2,919 investment contracts worth 813 million euros for them and the made payments totaled 610 million euros.

As many as 2,639 beneficiaries applied for EU funds in order to increase the added value of the farm and forest products; 976 financing contracts were signed totalling more than 656 million euros in non-repayable funds; some 469 million euros was paid.

The measure relating the support for setting up and developing micro-firms registered 9,499 funding claims, with 2,869 projects having been contracted so far, totalling around 364 million euros. Payments amounting to roughly 276 million euros have been made so far.

Rural tourism and agri-tourism in Romania owes much of its development to the EU funds implemented by the Agency. Continuing the success scored by SAPARD programme for Encouraging Tourist Activities, as many as 1,467 projects were contracted worth some 206 million euros, of which 101 million euros has been paid.

As many as 3,317 financing claims were filed for the renovation and development of villages; they total more than 7.64 billion euros. The amount earmarked by the NRDP by 2013, namely 1.60 billion euros has been exceeded four times. Contracted so far have been 867 projects amounting to 1.7 billion euros in non-repayable money; over 1.43 billion euros of it has been paid.

NRDP 2007 – 2013 is the instrument by which the non-repayable EU funds are given for the private and public investments aimed at developing the Romanian villages. The amount allotted under the NRDP totals 9.67 billion euros for 2007 – 2013; the money had to be contracted by end-2013, but can be paid by the end of 2015.

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