This case study, featuring the 2014-2020 European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, describes an Estonian loan fund supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector and wider rural economy. Using EUR 39.4 million of Estonian Rural Development Programme funds, this instrument seeks to fill a market gap in financing for rural enterprises, whose access to credit is limited by unfavourable conditions such as high interest rates, short repayment periods and high collateral requirements. Advantageous loans through this financial instrument aimed to help generate investment in agricultural and rural development projects. Special interest rates are provided to young farmers, producers and other groups such as start-ups, microenterprises, disabled people and women. Due to final recipients’ significant interest, all resources initially allocated to the instrument were fully absorbed as at December 2020 leading to the managing authority activating additional contribution of EUR 15 million from EURI and extending implementation until 2025, in line with the transition period foreseen under the EAFRD.
This case study has been updated in September 2021.