The European Investment Fund (EIF) has selected four Romanian banks to provide new financing for local farmers across the country.
The four Romanian banks – Banca Comerciala Romana, ProCredit Bank, Raiffeisen Bank and UniCredit Bank – will provide 155 million euros to over 1,300 local farmers and rural entrepreneurs.
The EIF and the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture signed the agricultural mandate agreement to support local farmers in Romania last year and these four banks are the first to offer finance to local entrepreneurs. The mandate forms part of the National Rural Development Programme and is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
In line with the Romanian government’s agricultural policy objectives, the funding will support the capital expenditure of small farms as well as agricultural holdings and the co-financing of agricultural subsidies.
“We are pleased to have selected the first four banks to provide over finance under the EU’s first supported agricultural mandate in Romania,” said EIF secretary general, Maria Leander. “We are convinced that together with these banks we will be able to create more opportunities for Romanian farmers – in particular, small farms – to expand their production and further enhance the competitiveness of the sector in Romania.”
Romania’s minister of agriculture and rural development, Petre Daea added: “These financial instruments will address categories of higher risk borrowers, such as small farms or young farmers, reducing their borrowing costs. I encourage the Romanian farmers to take advantage of this instrument dedicated to them”.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said: “Financial instruments and access to credit for farmers has been a key priority for me as commissioner for agriculture. Access to credit is essential for farmers to modernise and develop their agri-businesses. By investing to make their farms more competitive and more efficient, our farmers can improve their business prospects as well as reducing their climate and environmental impact. I commend the EIF for implementing this mandate, and I look forward to seeing how Romanian farmers and rural entrepreneurs make the most of this finance.”
The news comes as Romania tries to deal with a massive outbreak of the deadly African swine fever. The country has reported hundreds of outbreaks of the disease among pigs kept in backyards and smallholdings as well as several large private farms, especially in the south of the country. About 150,000 pigs have been culled so far.