The recently published fi-compass study on the ‘Financial needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in the European Union’ aims at providing an understanding of investment drivers, financing supply and financing difficulties, as well as the estimated financing gaps for both sectors, at EU level. Bruno Robino, Head of fi-compass, EIB, and Miglena Dobreva, Financial Instruments Advisor, EIB, set the scene on the agriculture and agri-food financing gaps. While for the first sector the estimated gap is ranging between EUR 19.8 to EUR 46.6 billion in the EU 24, with young farmers accounting for almost 30% of the total financing gap, it has been estimated that the gap for the agri-food sector is around EUR 12.5 billion. 78% of the gap affects small-sized agri-food enterprises and 57% is associated to long-term loans.
The conference continued with practical examples of EAFRD financial instruments implemented in a number of Member States and regions. Representatives from Poland Occitanie Region (France) and Italy (financial intermediary) presented advances made and success stories connected with their EAFRD financial instruments.
Monika Grążka, Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Poland, described how financial instruments co-financed from EU funds were introduced to the Polish Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, with 889 operations supported as of 30 September 2020.
Nathalie Dauder, Directorate of Agriculture, Agri-food and Forestry, Occitanie region, France, explained how the fund FOSTER (Fonds Occitanie de Soutien Territorial aux Entreprises Régionales) was designed to address the financing gap in the agriculture sector and ensure sufficient leverage of the EAFRD funds to bridge the gap. A recent survey commissioned by the Region confirmed the positive impact of the instrument for final recipients and partner financial intermediaries, with young and micro firms being among the main beneficiaries.