Financial needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in Italy

Webinar

10 February 2021
About the event
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The European Commission – Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) organised on 10 February 2021 the webinar on ‘Financial needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in Italy’. Key objective of the webinar was to shed light on the financial environment in which farmers and processors operate in the country. Around 170 participants from managing authorities, financial intermediaries, EU institutions and stakeholders from the agricultural and agri-food sectors attended the online event.

Moderated by Bruno Robino, Head of fi-compass at EIB, the webinar was opened by Silvia Michelini, Director at DG AGRI, who highlighted how financial instruments can facilitate access to finance in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, as well as their importance in pursuing the objectives of the Green Deal. She described the novelties of the Common Agriculture Policy. Giuseppe Blasi, Head of Department at the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, emphasised the importance of the agricultural sector in Italy. In Italy, EAFRD programmes are managed at regional level. Therefore, he explained, in order to ensure a proper involvement of the Regions in the preparation of the next CAP strategic plans, roundtables are organised, where all stakeholders are invited to participate.

Paolo Ammassari, Head of Office, Rural Development Programming at the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, focused on the implementation of financial instruments in the current Italian Rural Development Programmes. He explained how EAFRD financial instruments have a key role in helping reducing the risk associated with long-term loans and in mitigating collateral requirements. 

Mario Guido, Financial Instruments Advisor at the EIB, shared the findings from the fi-compass study ‘Financial needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in Italy’. In the Italian agriculture sector, the financial gap ranges from EUR 110 million to EUR 1.3 billion. This financial gap is more evident in the medium/long-term loans, than in the access to finance for short-term loans, and refers predominantly to small enterprises. The main structural obstacles for the agricultural sector in Italy are, inter alia, the lack of collateral, the lack of credit history of the potential borrower, the inadequate quality of the business plans, the limited financial education and finally the lack of specialised agricultural expertise within the banking sector.

Maria Nucera, Market Analyst at ISMEA, exposed the market trends in the Italian agri-food sector in light of the Covid-19 crisis. Whereas the domestic food consumption increased by around 7%, the foodservice industry turnover, including HO.RE.CA, collapsed by around 40% compared to 2019. The data collected also shows that farmers are more confident in the future compared to entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector.

Immacolata Russo, Agriculture Sector Specialist at Iccrea Banca, provided an overview of the measures put in place at Iccrea Banca to face Covid-19 crisis consisting, among others, in the moratorium for small loans up to EUR 30 000, guaranteed at 100% by the State. She pointed out the difficulties that banks are experiencing in interacting with new client farmers in the provision of loans, mainly related to the negative perception of banks’ attitude during the credit analysis process.
 

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eafrd loan fund for agriculture friuli venezia giulia italy

Karen Miniutti, representing the EAFRD Managing Authority of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, shared her experience with the Regional Revolving Fund, co-funded with EAFRD resources. She exposed the main features and results of this instrument, as of last October 2020.  With a  view to maximise leverage, in addition to EUR 16.1 million from the Rural Development Programme, the fund integrated EUR 76.9 million of own resources. In total, more than 440 loans have been provided so far to final recipients.

Francesco Ranieri, Responsible for monitoring, evaluation and financial instruments at Puglia Region, presented two complementary financial instruments implemented in the region: the multi-regional AGRI platform of the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the regional guarantee fund managed by Confidi. In focusing on the EIF financial instrument, he explained how eight Italian regions contributed to the platform managed by the EIF, with a total amount of EUR 202.85 million.

Francesco Licciardo, Researcher at the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) – Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bio-Economy, illustrated the main findings from a web-survey conducted in June-July 2020 in nine Italian regions that have activated financial instruments. The objective of the survey was to identify some limiting factors for the uptake of financial instruments in this programming period and at the same time to propose and develop adjustments.

Alice Busani, Product Manager at CREDEM Banca, presented the AGRI Italy guarantee agreement signed by the bank in 2019 with the EIF, in order to enhance access to credits for enterprises in the agricultural sector. At this stage, CREDEM aggregate portfolio amounts to EUR 233 million, covering the eight contributing regions.

Michael Pielke closed the webinar by underlining that the road to recovery from the severe impact of the Covid-19 in the sector has started, and it coincides with the new opportunities and the new CAP strategic plans. The implementation of the financial instruments will be simplified, more possibilities to combine financial instruments with grants will be offered and the eligibility requirements will be facilitated. By making the access to finance easier, financial instruments can play a crucial role in the green transition.

Presentations

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Title Speakers
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Bruno Robino, Head of fi-compass, European Investment Bank

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Opening statement from DG AGRI

Silvia Michelini, Director, DG AGRI, European Commission

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Opening statement from the National Ministry of Agriculture

Giuseppe Blasi, Head of Department, European and International Policies and Rural Development, National Ministry of Agriculture, Italy

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The implementation of financial instruments in the Italian Rural Development Programmes

Paolo Ammassari, Head of Office, Rural Development Programming, National Ministry of Agriculture, Italy

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Panel discussion and Q&A with the audience

Silvia Michelini, Director, DG AGRI, European Commission

Giuseppe Blasi, Head of Department, European and International Policies and Rural Development, National Ministry of Agriculture, Italy

Paolo Ammassari, Head of Office, Rural Development Programming, National Ministry of Agriculture, Italy

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Financing needs in agriculture and agri-food sectors in Italy

Mario Guido, Financial Instruments Advisor, European Investment Bank

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The Italian agri-food sector facing Covid-19 crisis – Market trends

Maria Nucera, Market Analyst, Istituto di Servizi per il Mercato Agricolo Alimentare (ISMEA), Italy

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Financing needs in agriculture and agri-food sectors in Italy

Immacolata Russo, Agriculture Sector Specialist, Iccrea Banca, Italy

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Panel discussion and Q&A with the audience

Mario Guido, Financial Instruments Advisor, European Investment Bank

Maria Nucera, Market Analyst, Istituto di Servizi per il Mercato Agricolo Alimentare (ISMEA), Italy

Immacolata Russo, Agriculture Sector Specialist, Iccrea Banca, Italy

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EAFRD Loan Fund for agriculture in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region

Karen Miniutti, EAFRD Managing Authority, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy

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Current experiences with financial instruments in Italy – Puglia Region

Francesco Ranieri, Responsible for monitoring, evaluation and financial instruments, Puglia Region, Italy

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Financial instruments and rural development in Italy

Francesco Licciardo, Researcher, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) – Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bio-Economy, Italy

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Agri Italy Guarantee Platform

Alice Busani, Product Manager, CREDEM Banca, Italy

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Panel discussion and Q&A with the audience

Karen Miniutti, EAFRD Managing Authority, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy

Francesco Ranieri, Responsible for monitoring, evaluation and financial instruments, Puglia Region, Italy

Francesco Licciardo, Researcher, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) – Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bio-Economy, Italy

Alice Busani, Product Manager, CREDEM Banca, Italy

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Closing remarks

Michael Pielke, Head of Unit, DG AGRI, European Commission

Programme
Financial needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in Italy
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Fabbisogni finanziari nei settori agricolo e agroalimentare in Italia
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