European Investment Bank Launches Agriculture and Bioeconomy Loan Programme
In the wake of COVID-19 the European Investment Bank approves €700m to aid EU agriculture and bioeconomy industries.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) launched a new financing initiative that aims to inject approximately €1.6 billion of investment in the agriculture and bioeconomy sectors.
The Agriculture and Bioeconomy Loan Programme is directed at private companies throughout the value chains of food production and processing, bio-based materials, and bioenergy.
The loan programme offers direct lending to private sector investments from €15 million to €200 million. The EIB loan itself ranges from €7.5 million to €50 million. It will be guaranteed by the EU budget under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which forms the financial pillar of the “Investment Plan for Europe”.
These targeted investments support environmental protection and natural resource efficiency, as well as renewable energy, innovation, competitiveness, and energy efficiency initiatives within private cooperatives and companies in the agriculture and bioeconomy sector.
The loan programme also aids in rural development and territorial integration across the EU by creating and safeguarding employment opportunities in rural areas.
Origins of the lending programme
This lending programme is a continuation of the first €400 million Agriculture and Bioeconomy Loan Programme launched by the EIB in 2018.
The first lending programme was particularly successful with bioenergy and agriculture projects from corporate and co-operative counterparties in several EU countries including, France, Poland, Ireland, Italy and Latvia.
A factsheet with the terms and conditions, eligibility criteria and benefits of the Agriculture and Bioeconomy Loan Programme is available on the EIB website.
Input from European Investment Bank Professionals
EIB Vice-President for bioeconomy, Andrew McDowell, said: “Since the coronavirus pandemic reached Europe the EIB has been fully mobilised with the European Commission to deploy a support plan for the hardest hit SMEs, including those in the agri-food sector. Nevertheless, the EIB’s long-term financing of the sector continues in parallel, with a focus on innovation, climate action, environmental sustainability, and rural development.”
Speaking of the success of the programme, he went on to note,”The first €400 million of the agriculture programme loan has already supported 10 transformational investments for European agriculture that have also strengthened rural communities. With this second financing, we are providing an additional €700 million to build on this success and meet market demand.”
European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, expressed the necessity of the EIB’s strategy, especially in the wake of the pandemic. He stated, “The coronavirus pandemic affects every single one of us and every single sector. In this dramatic context, I warmly welcome this second step in EIB’s strategy under the Investment Plan to finance measures deploying a support plan for the AGRI-food sector. I am strongly convinced that, this will be a very important and useful instrument in helping the sector remain robust and resilient to overcome the crisis.”