Agribusiness in Berat are presented to the innovative opportunities for funding agriculture production
24 May 2019 – The third meeting in the framework of the “Albanian Agribusiness Support Program” (AASF) initiative to promote cooperation between the Albanian Financial Institutions and Agribusinesses in Albania was held today in the city of Berat.
Mrs. Anila Denaj, Minister of Finance and Economy, Mrs. Ermira Gjeçi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for Albania, representatives from the AASF project, representatives from Partner Financial Institutions (Raiffeisen Bank, Otp, ProCredit Bank, Intesa SanPaolo Bank and Fondi Besa, local state institutions and around 50 businesses from the Berat area, specialized in the production of wine and olive oil and other agribusiness in general participated in this meeting.
In the opening speech, Mrs. Adela Leka, deputy Team Leader of AASF Program, mentioned the importance of agriculture as a vital sector for the country’s economy, with a great potential which is yet not exploited and the opportunities coming from the Program for both Financial Institutions and agribusinesses.
Minister Denaj reinforced this message, sharing with those present the fact that around 20% of Albania’s GDP is generated from the agriculture sector, which at the same time is the main source of employment in rural areas, accounting for about 40% of the population employed in this sector. The main challenge remains the transformation of agriculture from a sector producing only to cover local needs, into a modern sector oriented towards commerce and competing in the international market.
In her speech, Mrs. Denaj also emphasized the priorities of the Albanian Government, the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in supporting the agriculture sector through technical assistance and grants. “Today, in fact, is a moment when we need to interact more closely with each other to incentivise this sector, us as a Government on one hand, financial institutions and farmers themselves through formalization and capacity development. International programs and our partners are ready to assist us at any moment,” said Denaj.
In the sam line was also Mrs. Ermira Gjeçi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, which informed the participants about the many programs that Albanian Government has in support to the revitalization of the agriculture sector. While, Mr. Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for Albania, suggested that banks should advertise more their financial product for farmers and agribusiness. At the same time, he encouraged farmers to apply for EBRD SME consulting programs aiming to assist their business grow.
Following the speeches, farmers and agribusinesses of the Berat area were introduced to the project initiatives and had the opportunity to engage in constructive conversations with representatives from Partner Financial Institutions. AASF provides access to finance for the agribusiness sector in two ways: credit line and / or portfolio risk allocation for microfinance institutions (MFIs) and banks. Institutions benefit from a loss risk coverage that is made available by the Albanian Government.
The next meeting between agribusinesses and financial institutions will take place on 29th of May in Shkodra, with the participation of farmers and businesses of the forestry products cluster (nuts and chestnuts) and medical herbs.
Apart from farmers, entrepreneurs and companies engaged in the production and processing of agricultural products, AASF invites also those engaged in trading agricultural products or equipment, logistics, service providers, agribusinesses, wholesalers and retailers to become part of the next meetings.