The European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched a new financing initiative that aims to unlock close to €1 billion of investment in the agriculture and bio-economy sector. The bio-economy sector encompasses the value chains of production and the processing of food, material and energy using renewable biological resources from land and sea.
The operation will be guaranteed by the EU budget under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which forms a central part of the Investment Plan for Europe of the European Commission (the so-called Juncker Plan). New rules applicable from early 2018 extended the scope of EFSI to include a specific sectorial focus on sustainable agriculture and the wider bio-economy.
The EIB financing amounts to €400 million of loans; loans directed at farmers and small and medium enterprises will range from €7.5 million to €50 million. These EIB loans will back close to €1 billion of investment across Europe, enticing investments from cooperatives and private companies.
Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development, explained: “Facilitating access to finance to unlock investment in the agriculture sector is crucial to maintaining Europe's position as the global leader of high-quality, safe food products. This is where the Juncker Plan can play an important role. I am delighted to welcome this initiative which will, with the support of the Juncker Plan, provide a €1 billion boost to jobs and growth in Europe's rural economy. The significant increase of EIB loans for agriculture and rural development is a great vote of confidence in and recognition of the importance of this sector.”
Press release, 16 April 2018
18 April 2018