IPARD is a pre-accession instrument of the European Union for the period from 2007 to 2013. It is an integral part of IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance), i.e. – its 5th component: Rural Development. The main goal of the IPARD programme is to improve agricultural sector through competitiveness of agricultural products.

The IPARD programme has three priority axes as follows:

1)       Improving market efficiency and implementation of Community standards

2)       Preparatory actions for implementation of the agri-environmental measures and LEADER (programme that enables creation and co-financing of projects that include various interest-based motives of the people living in certain regions or micro-regions, regardless of the existing administrative boundaries)

3)       Development of rural economy

The above priorities represent the backbone of the Croatian European future since the measures of the EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) will be implemented almost identically. This is a unique opportunity for the Republic of Croatia to prepare itself for a specific approach to financing agriculture and rural development. The beneficiaries of IPARD programme can be (depending on a specific measure) farmers/ family farms subject to VAT payment, craftsmen, small businesses or companies – which means that there are no limitations in that respect.

For the period 2007 – 2011 the IPARD programme beneficiaries in the Republic of Croatia had EUR 179.000.000 (HRK 1.3 billion) of funds at disposal. On December 19, 2007 the programme was positively evaluated by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in Brussels and it was officially approved by the European Commission on February 25, 2008.

By the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 34/08) the IPARD programme is managed by the Directorate for Rural Development – the Managing Authority for SAPARD / IPARD programme and it is implemented by the Paying Agency in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development.