IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Importance to analyse impacts of DCFTA's on agricultural sector stressed by CSF experts at Panel
The EaP Civil Society Forum was represented at the first meeting of the Panel on Agriculture and Rural Development which took place on 13 May 2013 in Brussels by Sergiu Mihailov from Pro Cooperare Regionala, Moldova and by Oleg Shatberashvili from European Studies for Innovative Development, Georgia. The panel brought together not only representatives of the respective EaP countries, but also stakeholder's representatives (professional agricultural organisations, agricultural cooperatives, NGOs) active in rural areas in addition to the EaP CSF experts.
During the meeting the EU approach to rural development policy was explained to participants and national strategies of each EaP country for agriculture and rural development presented and discussed. Special importance was given to the role and importance of producer’s cooperation and how governments can support this form of cooperation.
The CSF forum experts stressed the importance of analysing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements' impact on the agricultural sector and underlined the need to promote the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) more broadly by organising different events with the participation of farmers. Furthermore, they stressed the importance of the cooperation process in the agricultural field and underlined that legal regulations in this field need to be adapted to EU standards. The low funding of research and innovation systems as well as institutions active in the agricultural field as identified as an important area that needs to be addressed including reforms in the educational system for small farmers.