The Head of the Political and Economic Section of the EU Delegation to Albania, Mr Jan Rudolph (left), Executive Director of CBS, Mr Enio Jaço, USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, Mr Thomas Melia, Minister of Agriculture, Edmond Panariti and USAID Mission Director to Albania, Mr Marcus Johnson at the Consultative Event on Supporting the Future of Albanian Agriculture
May 2016 - USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, Mr Thomas Melia, and Minister of Agriculture, Edmond Panariti, delivered remarks at a round table consultative event on agriculture financing organized by USAID's AgroCapital project. In a three-year span, AgroCapital, implemented by Creative Business Solutions (CBS), supported $14.8 million USD in financing for Albanian farmers and agribusinesses.
USAID Assistant Administrator for EurAsia Mr Thomas Melia stated: “The EU and other financial institutions have made more funds available for agribusinesses in the coming years. The best way we can help these businesses is by supporting reforms in Albania’s court and legal system. Enhancing the rule of law will have a significant impact in creating a more transparent, equitable, and predictable business environment which supports lending and access to finance.”
The Head of the Political, Economic and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Albania, Mr Jan Rudolph declared that: “The European Union views agriculture as a crucial sector for the development of Albania.
We have been supporting Albanian agriculture since the early 1990s and continue that under the IPARD financing framework. For the next four years, the European Union has allocated Euro 72 Million for the Albanian agriculture financing and these are real investments not only for agriculture, but also Albania towards its EU integration”.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Edmond Panariti highlighted the importance of agriculture financing, which is considered vital from the Government of Albania. In 2016, the National Subsidy Schemes budget amounts nearly Euro 13 Million, while the AgroCapital program facilitated about 20% of the successful applicants for the National Subsidy Schemes. “Financing growth is vital for agriculture. We are especially happy to have turned the corner and been able to win over financial institutions and agribusinesses skepticism to invest in agriculture. The EBRD and GoA Guarantee Fund of Euro 75 Million, not only more financing is assure, but also more consultancy services for the Albanian farmers”.
Enio Jaço, Executive Director of CBS, emphasized how AgroCapital's success is due to the use of new solutions to bridge the gap between the agribusiness community and financing instruments and institutions.
“The existence of the program is underlined by the share-volume requests that agribusinesses have for support with financing. Significant volume of new investments were injected into agro-economy with our support,” Jaço said. “The program facilitated $14.8 million financing for Albanian agribusinesses, stimulated sale growth with $28 million, and generated 1,150 new jobs.”
High-level government representatives, heads of banks and financial institutions, industry experts, agribusinesses, donors and investors discussed how coordination of financing instruments from donors would address the challenges of Albanian agriculture towards the country’s European Union integration.