Jubilee 20th Agricultural Policy Forum gathered more than 160 participants from 14 EU countries

The Agricultural Policy Forum (APF), hereafter referred to as the “Forum”, is a comprehensive regional platform enabling all stakeholders – from academia and policy makers to farmers and civil society – to get together and address key concerns about the future of agriculture and rural development, and their role in the prosperity of the South Eastern European region. The current and future state of agriculture and rural development in relation to the dynamics of the European Union (EU) integration process was the central topic of the APF.

The 20th Agricultural Policy Forum, “Agriculture and Rural Development Policy in the Western Balkans in times of pandemic, was held as an online webinar from 12 to 16 October 2020. It addressed the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, food and rural areas in the Western Balkans and stressed the necessity of regional cooperation in times of pandemic. The Forum reviewed recent agricultural policy developments in the context of the EU approximation process and elaborated on the research, innovation and technology transfer capacities in the Western Balkans. Small holders and rural areas were once again in the focus of the APF, emphasizing their importance in times of pandemic through development of short value-chains, diversification of economic activities in rural areas and application of the community-led local development approach.

The APF Agenda 2020 will be presented and discussed at the 14th Annual Working Meeting of the Ministries of Agriculture from South Eastern Europe on the 17th of November 2020. The Agricultural Policy Forum 2020 was held under joint auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development of Kosovo* and regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in South Eastern Europe.

The participants of the Agricultural Policy Forum 2020 highly appreciated the support provided by the convening institutions and organizations: European Commission (DG Agriculture and Rural development), The Germain International Cooperation (GIZ) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).