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Agriculture and rural development

Initiatives for EU pre-accession rural development and innovation

Networks for rural development and innovation

The European network for rural development (ENRD) is the contact point for all European national rural networks. It promotes the exchanges of ideas and best practice, and organises networking events to further improve the development of rural areas.

The European innovation partnership for agriculture (EIP-AGRI) also promotes innovation in agriculture and rural development.

The instrument for pre-accession assistance for rural development (IPARD) encourages the emergence and activities of similar national networks for rural development in candidate countries. It is supported via the 'technical assistance' measure. Please check your national IPARD website to see how you can join the activities of a network in your country.

The Balkan rural development networks in the Western Balkans are supported by two instrument for pre-accession assistance projects: ALTER – active local territories for economic development of rural areas and NAGE – networking and advocacy for green economy. The emergence of the network in Turkey has also been supported via IPARD.

Develop your local LEADER initiative

Have you thought of developing a local development initiative in your rural area? You can follow an established LEADER methodology, practised and developed within the EU since 1995. This methodology is already being used in projects in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

The goal is to bring together public authorities, rural businesses, farmers, local organisations and individuals from different sectors to form a local action group (LAG). Members contribute in different ways and have different interests. They work out their local strengths and weaknesses and define joint priorities in their local development strategies. When the local action groups have developed their strategy, they can then implement it.

The IPARD programmes can support LEADER initiatives under measures 5 and 9, respectively "implementation of local development strategies – LEADER approach" and "technical assistance".

Learn more about successful development initiatives by meeting some of the thousands of EU local action groups which are part of the ENRD.


29 JANUARY 2019
A guide to getting the LEADER approach up and running in the Western Balkans, Turkey and beyond
(9.72 MB - PDF)