Livestock farming is central to the sustainability of rural communities throughout Europe however, currently facing important challenges to ensure its sustainability. Therefore, Europe committed itself to sustainable development and greenhouse gas emission reductions which among others includes the utilization of local resources and the promotion of traditional animal breeds and practices.
Both small and large ruminant production systems constitute an important part of local economy in Greece including the Region of Western Macedonia as well as in neighboring Albania. Production limiting diseases caused by biotic stress factors such as pathogens might affect the productivity of those systems. Infectious and parasitic diseases mainly appear in a subclinical form and apart from their effects on productivity and welfare, repeated drug use leads to an increasing concern about the presence of chemical residues in animal products.
Until now treatment of infectious and parasitic diseases mainly depends on repeated administration of drugs, often randomly, and not based on specific epidemiological data for the area. This in turn might lead to three important problems:
In order to both enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and deal with economic losses caused by production limiting diseases a shift in whole attitude of dealing with disease control and prevention is needed. A holistic approach should rely on solid scientific knowledge in order for it to be viable.
Goal of the INTERREG IPA II Cross-border Cooperation Programme “Greece-Albania 2014-2020” (COMPLETE) is to study, develop and apply innovative solutions which will be introduced to ruminant farming systems of the area in order to improve animal health/welfare and productivity and support development of high added value local dairy products. This in total will provide the needed support for the implementation of integrated management systems for animal production and for the standardization of the production process of local products with specific characteristics.
As foreseen, the project will cover the regional units of Grevena, Kastoria and Florina (including the respective areas of Albania bordering the above regional units). Following objectives are expected to be met :
The project through well-defined objectives and targeted actions is enhancing the competitiveness of SME’s by :
Reducing production losses due to production limiting diseases
Increasing the animal productivity (milk and meat) by 20-30%
Reducing the production costs and environmental impacts (less use of drugs and producing safe animal products, through targeted use of drugs adjusted to the peculiarities of the region
The Interreg IPA CBC Programme “Greece – Albania 2014 – 2020” was approved by the European Commission on 30/07/2015 by decision C (2015) 5482. The second modification of the Programme was approved by the European Commission on 14/02/2018 be decision C (2018) 559.
The total budget allocated to the Programme (according to the 2nd Modification) is 54.076.734,00€, out of which 45.965.222,00€ (85%) is Union Support and the 8.111.512,00€ (15%) the National Counterpart.
The overall strategy of the Interreg IPA CBC Programme “Greece – Albania 2014 – 2020” is to find the balance between sustainable regional development and enhancement of cross-border cooperation among local population and regional institutions, in accordance with EU and national policies, in order to address common challenges through joint interventions.
The eligible cross-border area spreads from the Ionia Sea to the Prespa Lakes.