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New fi-compass handbook on ex-ante assessment for rural development financial instruments

A new fi-compass publication has been launched featuring advice about developing financial instruments for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Entitled 'Methodological handbook for implementing an ex-ante assessment of agriculture financial instruments under the EAFRD', the new publication provides a planning framework for managing authorities interested in using EAFRD financial instruments.

Advice in the fi-compass handbook focuses on potential investments targeted at agricultural holdings, primary agricultural production activities and farm sales of agricultural products. A number of agricultural sub-sectors are reviewed to provide analytical information about assessing the financial needs of agriculture in a rural development programme (RDP) territory.

Handbook contents highlight the overall scope of the ex-ante assessment process in terms of identifying and describing the existence of market failures or ‘suboptimal investment situations’. Explanations are provided about the tasks involved with carrying out a ‘market assessment’ as well as defining the options available for implementing the delivery and management of EAFRD financial instruments.

Ex-ante methodologies are described using illustrative step-by-step advice. This covers the specific ex-ante assessment requirements set out in Article 37 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR). The handbook is therefore designed to be useful for EAFRD managing authorities involved with:

  • analysing and identifying market failures, suboptimal investment situations and investment needs of the agricultural sector;
  • assessing the value added of the financial instruments, both from a quantitative and qualitative point of view;
  • estimating the additional public and private resources to be potentially raised by the financial instruments;
  • identifying the success factors and pitfalls from past experience in order to enhance the performance of the financial instruments;
  • defining the investment strategy, by identifying the scale and focus of the financial instruments as well as the most appropriate governance structure to implement them;
  • establishing and monitoring a set of expected results consistent with the programme and the strategic objective;
  • defining when a revision or update of the ex-ante assessment is needed.

Practical examples are used in the handbook to clarify specific points. The publication also contains checklist tools as well as a list of relevant references and databases that managing authorities can use for: market assessment; evaluating leverage of private investment; enhancing the consultation process with stakeholders and final recipients; as well as for calculating the net present values for indicators of quantitative value added.

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