Agriculture and bioeconomy: EIB approves €700 million of financing under the Investment Plan for Europe amid coronavirus pandemic

Financing is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and will help make the sector more resilient in light of Covid-19

New financing targets investments by private cooperatives and companies in the agriculture and bioeconomy sector

The EIB programme loan will amount to €700 million and is expected to back close to €1.6 billion of investment across Europe

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, announced the launch of a new financing initiative that aims to unlock close to €1.6 billion of investment in the agriculture and bioeconomy sector. The financing aims to support private companies operating throughout the value chains of production and processing of food, bio-based materials and bioenergy. 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”.

The lending programme will enable direct lending for private sector investments ranging from €15 million to €200 million, with the EIB loan amount ranging from €7.5 million to €50 million. Targeted investments will support environmental protection and natural resource efficiency, renewable energy, innovation, competitiveness, and energy efficiency. The programme will contribute to safeguard and create employment in rural areas and therefore promote rural development and territorial integration across the EU.

The programme is a continuation of the first €400 million agriculture and bioeconomy programme loan that was launched in 2018 and is nearly fully committed. The first programme loan generated significant interest in the market with a number of projects originated with corporate and cooperative counterparties in several EU countries (e.g. France, Poland, Ireland, Italy and Latvia).

EIB Vice-President responsible for bioeconomy, Andrew McDowell: “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. 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 said: “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.”