Marina Albu: Local Action Groups cover 50% of Moldova’s territory

The Government of the Republic of Moldova must provide more financial support to Local Action Groups (LAGs), as 5% of the National Agricultural and Rural Development Fund allocated for this purpose is far too small, president of the National LEADER Network for Rural Development Marina Albu stated in a public debate hosted by IPN News Agency. According to her, the LAGs currently cover 50% of the country’s territory, but this coverage should be extended so that all the rural localities receive support.

The National LEADER Network is an association that supports and represents the interests of Local Action Groups, contributing to the development of rural areas in the Republic of Moldova. The LEADER president said that the LAGs today cover half of the country’s territory, most of the members of these entities being enterprises and associations that contribute to the development and modernization of localities.

The coverage is over 50% of the country’s territory - over one million of the country’s population. We cover 478 administrative-territorial units, 783 villages. Within the Local Action Groups, we have over 1,500 members. These 1,500 members representing rural local communities are mostly legal entities, institutions, enterprises, local public authorities, but they are also individuals, active community leaders. The process of initiating/creating LAGs was launched in 2017 and today we have this coverage of over 50%. The LAGs do not disappear, but become stronger. If we have LAGs in need of development, we provide them with assistance in this regard because we believe that we must aim to reach that territorial coverage that is of 98% in Romania,” said Marina Albu.

The LEADER president explained that the LAGs are an institutionalized partnership of representatives of the public, civic and entrepreneurial sectors. In order to expand the network of LAGs in the Republic of Moldova, increased financial support from the state is needed.

“The other localities in Moldova are eager to borrow this approach. We, as an assistance network, are often phoned by representatives of our villages and asked to support them in the process of setting up a LAG, but we need to have a sustainable funding perspective for these Local Action Groups. Today, in the Republic of Moldova, the only sustainable source of funding is the LEADER program implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry, which allocates 5% of the National Agricultural and Rural Development Fund to the LEADER program. However, 5% is not enough to fund the existing number of LAGs, not to mention a higher number. We hope that additional resources will be identified in the coming years so that we can support the existing LAGs, but also enable other rural localities to implement this mechanism as there should be no discriminatory approach,” stated Marina Albu.

The public debate entitled “LEADER approach in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, exchange of experience, transfer of good practices” was the fifth installment of the project “Double integration through cooperation and information. Continuity”, which is funded by the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova. The content of this debate does not represent the official position of the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova.

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