News16 March 2016Brussels, BelgiumAgriculture and Rural Development
Financial Instrument loan schemes for Estonian agriculture
The first financial instrument (FI) under the 2014-20 rural development programming period has now been launched by the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs, aimed at facilitating loans and credit arrangements for agriculture and rural areas in Estonia.
After completing all the necessary prior assessments, Estonia gave the green light in February for a loan fund worth € 36 million, of which € 32.4 million comes from the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD) and € 3.6 million from Estonian public funds. Additional private resources of more than € 16 million are also expected to be leveraged.
There are two types of loan scheme. The "Growth loan for micro- and small enterprises" scheme targets micro and small enterprises, providing direct public (EAFRD + national) lending of amounts between € 5,000 and € 100,000 for up to five years with a maximum grace period of three years.
The second, larger scheme – the "Long-term investment loan" – which is run in conjunction with private banks, targets micro-enterprises and SMEs, providing loans between € 250,000 and € 1 million for up to fifteen years and a maximum grace period of five years. For these larger loans at least half of the funding is added from private banks.
Estonian young farmers and producer groups will also be able to support their investments through these schemes. Within the first month of the scheme being up and running, applications amounting to € 1.27 million for investments mostly in agriculture have already been approved or are in a process of being evaluated.
The loan products are part of a wider strategic approach of the Estonian government to support agriculture, processing and marketing of agricultural products and investments into diversification of the rural economy towards non-agricultural activities through FIs, which may see channelling a total of at least € 52 million (i.e. € 36 million public funding + € 16 million private funds) into its economy in the current programming period.