Competitive livestock entrepreneurship and health protection for sustainable rural economic development
Livestock is an important and integral component of the Balkan agricultural system that provides high quality food, cash income and employment. Livestock raising is among the main pillars of local economy in the Programme Area with 95.622 livestock farming SMEs (of cattles, sheeps and goats) and 5.332.752 animals. In a continuously competitive market environment the production of quality milk and meat products in competitive prices are considered prominent features of contemporary livestock entrepreneurs. However, infectious diseases are one of the most serious problems in livestock, causing reduced productivity and welfare, and necessitating heavy drug use which results in: (a) more than 35% income reduction for the livestock raising SMEs, (b) the increase often at alarming levels drug resistance and (c) concerns about drug residues in products and environment which have called for alternative ways to promote health in livestock. The goal of the project is to support entrepreneurship and enhance the competitiveness of SMES involved in pasture-based livestock industry through applied innovations in animal health care and livestock entrepreneurship. In order to achieve this goal, the project will: – Assess the spatial distribution of production diseases and the impacts on SMSs competitiveness. – Increase the competitiveness of livestock farming SMEs through innovative vet-tools and programmes of effective pathogens control and increased productivity. – Improve livestock entrepreneurship skills and stimulate business performance, extroversion and innovation. The COMPLETE project will provide tools, capacity building and support to entrepreneurs for the operation of competitive livestock raising SMSs, covering a broad range of activities. Based on the outputs the main results and benefits of the project include: Increased ability of entrepreneurs to address challenges in the establishment and operation of a livestock enterprise in the programme area. On-site support and improved practical knowledge and skills of vet-tools application for livestock SMEs and veterinarians. Improved ability of business development and management for existing and new livestock entrepreneurs. Increased availability of ready to use solutions, through web applications and active communication, to more than 500 existing livestock enterprises and potential entrepreneurs. Strengthen the cooperation of SMEs and research institutions for the establishment of solid cooperation networking and clustering schemes and the introduction of innovative production processes (vet-tools) and quality products (milk and meat) in the programme area. Mobilization of regional policy mechanisms towards the support of livestock SMEs.