One of the stringent aspects that need to be addressed concerning Romania’s rural economy in the next multiannual framework is the development of agricultural associations. The current research “Local Action Groups perceptions and recommendations for agricultural association” is complementary to the studies conducted so far by CRPE on this topic and aims to determine how the Local Action Groups relate to the issue of agricultural association.
The research is based on the answers received to a standardized questionnaire with 18 questions from 49 LAGs representatives with key positions.
The specific objectives of the research were:
- Probing the understanding and attitude of Local Action Groups’ representatives on the issue of farmers association;
- Identifying existing associative forms and the extent to which they engage in the functioning of the Local Action Groups (membership)
- The extent to which LAGs financed the creation/development of associative forms in the current National Rural Development Program (NRDP);
- Collecting Local Action Groups’ proposals to improve the new NRDP, in order to increase the efficiency of projects establishing and supporting the functioning of agricultural associative entities (co-operatives, associations);
The study revealed that, until now, even though they are almost unanimously in favor and understand the concept of farmers association as a means for economic growth, no LAG has financed any such associative entity, even though they initially included measures supporting producer groups in their LEADER exis strategy. At this point, LAGs are willing to finance associative forms in the next multiannual financial framework, should concrete steps be taken to streamline the process and shift the focus to the real necessity – financing the very establishment of associative forms. A set of concrete recommendations have been mapped out to be included in the drafting of the NRDP implementation documents.
The respondents underlined the importance of bigger grants for associative entities, the need to assist the entities in the first years of functioning, they pointed to the necessity of clarifying and coordinating legislation in the field and many other practical details, which can be consulted in this report.
The current research “Local Action Groups perceptions and recommendations for agricultural association” is part of the project “Advocacy for measures supporting the development of sustainable agricultural associations in Romanian Rural Development Program 2014-2020”, implemented by CRPE, in the framework of the “Rural development through entrepreneurship and association” program, initiated and financed by RAF and conducted in partnership with CIVITAS, FDSC, CMSC, CRPE and CEED.