Agribusinesses in Debar, beneficiaries of North Macedonia – Albania Cross-Border project, funded by the European Union were awarded International Standards for Products and Food Safety Certifications. International certifications will serve as a way for products of recognized quality to enter the European markets.

The ceremony was held at the premises of the Municipal Council, where the first five agribusinesses coming from the project area were awarded international food safety and quality standards certificates. Mr. Dalip Qoku – a Honey producer, Mr. Pajtim Daci – a Cheese Maker, Mr. Besnik Batku producing herbs (MIRI-KOM), Mr. Abdulla Papraniku from BABAS MILL and Mr. Albert Kolonja, an owner of Restaurant Kolonjas (Kolonija’s) were the direct beneficiaries of this cross border project. HACCP and Organic Certifications will guarantee international-level quality and safety standards of these domestic products.

Representatives of Debar Commune, collaborators from the Ministry of Agriculture, the direct beneficiaries of the project – agribusinesses and farmers, implementing partners CBS Creative Business Solutions and the Albanian Development Fund, were the main participants of this Event. The focus of the event was on regional development initiatives, promotion and economic growth of Debar and Diber area achieved through direct assistance to agribusiness and certifications of agribusinesses, paving the way for market expansion and economic progress.

Ms. Fotjona Tace, CBS representative, and Project Manager stated that: ‘This project impacts not only the local economy but also the sustainable development through common regional economy and cross border cooperation. Currently, 15 other agribusinesses are in the final stages of the certification process in Debar and Diber.  Certifications will significantly increase agribusinesses sales and revenues, enabling broader access to regional and European markets.  Furthermore, with the great support of EU Delegation in Skopje, the project will continue to directly assist these agribusinesses with advanced integrated marketing services’.

Also, Mr. Erduan Kllobucishta, representative of Debar Commune, emphasized that: ‘The economic impact of agro-products certified with food safety international standards, guaranteeing 100% natural and organic products, will be very large, not only on the local market but also on the regional market and beyond’. Mr. Kllobucishta has also expressed gratitude to the European Union Delegation in Skopje, which helps and promotes the area of Debar and the region through projects with high economic and social impact.

Certified agribusinesses also recognized the support received from the project, pointing out that thanks to international certifications, their products now have the opportunity to successfully compete not only in the domestic market but also in the regional and European markets.

‘Standards and Certifications of Agricultural Products, Capacity Building in Fundraising and Marketing Strategies in Supporting Economic Growth and Agribusiness Trade’ is a 2-year project funded by the European Union under its Cross Border Cooperation Program, and implemented by the Lead Partner – CBS Creative Business Solutions, in cooperation with Debar Commune and the Albanian Development Fund. The project aims to strengthen Agriculture, SMEs’ productive capacity and access to markets through Certification on Food Safety Standards, Capacity Building to absorb EU funds for new Investments as well as the development of marketing strategies./