The European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched a scheme offering financial and technical support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agrifood sector in Ukraine.
The EIB’s Agrifood Value Chain Project is aimed at enabling Ukraine to optimise the support it receives through its participation in the EU’s Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), a free trade agreement allowing Ukraine full access to the EU’s Single Market facility. The project is backed with an EIB loan of up to €400m, with a further combined support grant of €5.5m from the EU for technical assistance.
The Agrifood Value Chain Project will oversee the allocation of long term finance investments to SMEs through independent intermediaries, with potential recipients including farmers, processors and suppliers; logistics and storage operators; laboratories and research institutions. Finance distributed through the project will focus particularly on businesses operating within the aquaculture, cereals and oil seed value chains, which have been selected by the EIB due to their potential for meeting growing domestic demand for foodstuffs, while increasing the competitiveness of the region.
The project’s technical assistance arm will be led by NIRAS, a Denmark-based multidisciplinary consultancy. The technical assistance team will provide advice and associated support to the intermediary banks and agricultural lessors, as well as providing assistance directly to applicant SMEs in need of advice on completing credit applications and conducting investment planning.
Marion Hoenicke, Head of Division in the EIB’s Neighbouring Countries Department, said: “The programme launched today will support the agrifood sector, which has enormous growth potential, given its long tradition and competitive advantages. With the support of the European Union as well as the United Kingdom through the Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund (EPTATF), the EIB is stepping up its efforts to improve access to finance and build capacity in order to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Ukraine.”