This case study describes the set-up and implementation of a financial instrument under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 in Croatia aimed at supporting access to funding for the agricultural sector. The instrument includes micro and small loans for rural development, and third financial product that was added during the COVID-19 crisis – micro working capital loans.
The loans are provided by the implementing body, the Croatian Agency for Small Business, Innovation and Investment (HAMAG BICRO), at favourable conditions with lower interest rates and reduced collateral requirements.
Since its launch in 2018, the financial instrument has been effective in easing access to financial resources for micro and small producers, processors and the forestry sector with no access to bank finance. Final recipients immediately showed significant interest, leading the managing authority to increase the instrument’s budget three times and after the latest increase in March 2022, the RDP allocation amounts to EUR 86 million (EUR 73.1 million from EAFRD and EUR 12.9 million national contribution).