7 June 2019 – In the last years, apple cultivation has become an important business activity for the farmers of Korça region, making this fruit one of the most recognized products under the ‘made in Albania’ brand. The apple sector represents a great potential for further growth of agricultural enterprises operating in the region, some of which participated today in the introductory meeting of the financing mechanism “Albania Agribusiness Support Facility” (AASF). AASF is an innovative instrument that aims to motivate financial institutions to finance businesses along the agricultural value chain.
The agribusinesses were brought together with representatives from AASF’s Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) (Raiffeisen Bank, Otp, ProCredit Bank, Intesa SanPaolo Bank and Fondi Besa), EBRD and local public institutions of the Korça region.
The meeting kicked off with a presentation on the project, the funding opportunities offered for agribusinesses by the PFIs and technical assistance services offered to banks through the project and European Union schemes. A dedicated space allowed the PFIs to present their financial products for agribusinesses.
During their presentation Raiffeisen Bank representatives expressed their appreciation in joining the AASF Program. Hence they presented the volume of the bank portfolio for the next two-year period reaching an amount of 35 million euros dedicated to the agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, Intesa San Paolo representatives introduced the participants with their business products while emphasizing the bank strategy focus on supporting the real economy segment coming from small businesses such as farmers.
In addition, Pro Credit Bank representatives declared their availability to support the agribusiness sector on every step of their development, not only with monetary support but also with qualified financial consultancy.
Hence, Otp Bank by evaluating the role of the AASF program, explained, even though it is a new bank in the market, that its ambitions are to expand its branches on the regional market and with a special focus toward farmers and agribusinesses.
Finally, Fondi Besa as the main representative from Microfinance Institutions in its presentation informed the audience from the agricultural sector about its “Besa Agro” product portfolio which provides for farmer’s loans up to 25 000 euros with a loan term period of 48 months.
A fruitful exchange after the event, enabled entrepreneurs and farmers to learn more about how they could benefit from the project’s initiative and strengthened the dialogue between banks and agribusinesses. Also, businesses were invited to benefit from the EBRD Advice to Small Business (ASB) program, offering business advice to small and medium enterprises, which aim at further growing their business.
Cultivators of citrus fruits will be the focus of the next meeting, which will be organized in Saranda on 14th of June. It will be the sixth and last of the AASF Value Chain Matchmaking Events.