SAPARD funds blocking hits milk makers

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Most projects affected by stopping the payments through the SAPARD programme are those on rural infrastructure, the procession of primary agricultural products or dairy industry, framers representatives told the Business Standard, on Aug.25.
Most projects are likely to be delayed are those on the infrastructure, such as road and sewage network construction, and this because they are far reaching projects, requiring longer time span to be completed, National Federation of Romanian Farmers (FNAR) President, Viorel Matei pointed out.
 
The situation is "very critical" in the dairy industry because the SAPARD payments have been suspended, the same newspaper reads on quoting the head of the dairy industry's employers associations Valeriu Steriu as saying.
Some 30 factories and 160 farms will be forced to delay modernization works started on EU funds.
 
The factories are in the 3-year transition period at the end of which they could have exported their products to the EU countries. Likewise, over 160 farms have been awaiting the SAPARD funds, which is the sole support to the Romanian milk makers, Steriu said, adding that the Government should provide the funds from the state budget, unless EU payments are resumed.
 
Nevertheless it is hardly possible that the government provides such funds, because the state budget lacks the necessary resources, Matei pointed out.
SAPARD payments have been ceased after the EU Commission's audit mission revealed several shortcomings in the finance granting system, during the first half of June, 2008 and Romania has to get more 200 million euros from SAPARD.
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