Five million dinars for users of the local fund for the development of agriculture in Arandjelovac

As part of the project "Local funds for agricultural development" with the support of USAID in the municipality of Aranđelovac implemented by the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, the Regional Agency for Economic Development of Šumadija and Pomoravlje, the municipality of Aranđelovac and the Project "Big Small Economy", contracts were signed with beneficiaries which will be allocated a total of 5,000,000.00 dinars for the year 2024.

"Although the municipality invests really significant funds in agriculture in Arandjelovac, the livestock fund remained insufficiently covered when it comes to those incentive measures. I am very proud that we have found a good system like the revolving fund, where funds are given to users and on the other hand they are returned and can be used again. Our livestock fund will be renewed for 300 pigs and sheep, and in the hope that this mechanism will come to life, we plan to renew these funds in the coming years as well. We are additionally encouraged by the fact that, despite the difficult situation in agriculture, there are many interested in such competitions, especially young people and women", said Bojan Radović, president of the municipality of Aranđelovac.

Through the call, which was open until April 5th, a total of 11 agricultural farms from the territory of the municipality received interest-free loans with a repayment period of 3 years, which they will be able to invest in the purchase of quality reproductive material.

"Aranđelovac Municipality is the first municipality from the territory of Šumadija and Pomoravlje Districts that recognized the importance of this innovative model for financing investments of agricultural producers, where livestock breeding is recognized as a branch that should be focused on.  The importance of the fund is all the greater because now, in addition to national and local measures, agricultural producers from the territory of the municipality of Arandjelovac will have the opportunity to apply for funds from this fund every year," said Goran Miljković, advisor for regional development of the Regional Agency for Economic Development of Šumadija and Pomoravlje and added that the Regional Agency, as an implementation partner in this project, will provide administrative and technical support both to the municipality of Aranđelovac and to agricultural producers to make the best use of funds for the improvement of economic activities on their farms.

Arandjelovac, along with Velika Plana, Novi Pazar, Vlasotince and Nova Crnja, is the fifth municipality in Serbia that in the last year has established a fund to stimulate the development of agriculture and distributed funds to users. Since 2020, funds have also been launched in Čajetina, Vranje, Prijepolje, Svrljig, Ražanj, Užice, Dimitrovgrad, Brus, Veliki Gradište, Novi Pazar, Vlasotinac, Nova Crnja, Velika Plana, Sjenica, Tutin, Sečanj and the municipality of Lebane. In the next three years, the plan is to establish 5 more such funds throughout Serbia.

"The fund for stimulating the development of agriculture in Arandjelovac is one of the largest, and we are glad that the municipality recognized its importance for financing small farmers. Investments must be made in production and we know how much these funds mean to food producers, which is why we launched this financing model 4 years ago. Together with the beneficiaries of the funds from Arandjelovac, so far a total of 275 farmers have received interest-free loans," said Miroslava Panić, manager of access to finance in front of the Project "Big Small Economy” that USAID-finances.

The funds were designed and launched to help farmers at the local level get to financial resources to invest in improving their production.

"Through the local fund for the development of agriculture, this year the holders of agricultural farms engaged in the production and processing of food are supported, and they will be able to use the funds for the purchase of quality breeding material. The maximum amount of funds is 500,000 dinars per user. With a grace period of one year, the user returns the funds interest-free for the next three years to the Fund, from which other farmers will be supported in the coming years," said Milijan Maraš, manager for agricultural projects, Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, who invited and encouraged and other municipalities to join the establishment of Funds in the territories of their local governments.

Ana Radovanović from Bukovica is one of the users of funds from the Agricultural Promotion Fund in Arandjelovac, whose farm is engaged in animal husbandry and raises sheep that have not been tamed.

"This investment is very important for us because we have now acquired sheep and thus reached the number of 30 heads, and we can apply for state subsidies and further improve our farm", Ana pointed out and added that the application process for the competition is really simple, and invited other farmers to apply for these incentives in the next round.

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