Agriculture is one of the main sectors of the Albanian economy, in terms of employment and contribution to GDP, and is considered a priority sector by the Albanian Government. Despite recent growth, Albanian agriculture still faces various challenges, including difficulty in accessing credit. According to bank statistics, the agricultural sector has absorbed only 2% of the total lending of the economy. On the other hand, agribusinesses are often unable to meet the necessary requirements to be financed, and the lack of collateral in this sector is one of the main obstacles to obtaining financing. In this context, there is a need to enable an integrated mechanism, which creates facilities and strengthens the relationship between funding sources and business.
In response to these challenges, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Albanian Government launched the Albanian Agribusiness Support Program (AASF) in 2016. The purpose of this program is to motivate Albanian financial institutions to support a vital sector of the Albanian economy with largely untapped potential such as: agriculture and agribusiness. AASF provides access to finance for the agribusiness sector in two ways: credit line and/or portfolio risk distribution for the program’s partner financial institutions. Institutions benefit from a first coverage of the risk of losses made available to them by the Albanian Government. The ultimate beneficiaries of AASF are farmers, entrepreneurs and companies that are engaged in the production and processing of agricultural products, the production and trade of agricultural equipment, logistics, agribusiness service providers, wholesalers and retailers.