Study on the state of agriculture in five applicant countries

Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2006
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This study was commissioned by the European Commission DG-Agriculture. The study was conducted by the ARCOTRASS led Consortium. The aim of the study was to provide an assessment of the state of agriculture and rural development in the Western Balkans region comprising: Albania, Serbia & Montenegro (including a separate report on Kosovo1), Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the course of the study Montenegro became an independent country and a separate report was subsequently prepared for this country.

The study was implemented by an expert team with sound knowledge of the agricultural and rural situation in the Western Balkans region. The team included a network of leading Western Balkan agricultural economists and international experts based in the region, who greatly facilitated the collection of a diverse range of both historical and up-to-date data and information upon which the study results were ultimately based. The data and information were screened by a team of EU experts to ensure the integrity and consistency of the data and information. This information was archived and gradually utilised to develop the many and various study outcomes, as defined in the project ToR.. Overall project coordination and team management was provided by the Arcotrass head-office.

A number of tools were used to assess data quality and reliability (based on the EAA methodology). Furthermore EU, FAO, WB, IMF, and other internationally available data were used to fill certain data gaps and for comparative purposes. Where data were assessed as being unreliable or inconsistent, regional based experts were requested to consult with National Statistical Offices, relevant Ministries and other regional organisations to cross-check and supplement information sources. Thereby the study has been based on original information from the region wherever possible and as such, goes far beyond a pure desk study in its scope and substance. Without the adoption of such an approach the outcomes envisaged within the ToRwould not have been possible.

The medium term outlook analysis and the impact assessment are based on the CAPSIM Model which has previously been used to support similar studies commissioned by DG-Agri and Eurostat.

Throughout the Western Balkans region there are significant gaps and discrepancies in official agricultural statistics. A flexible and dynamic approach was therefore required by the expert team throughout the study to overcome many of these constraints and to ensure sufficient information could be obtained to complete the analysis. This inevitably involved a significantly higher commitment of manpower well beyond that which was originally envisaged by the contractor.

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