1- New scheme for farmer investments – 50% loan and 50% from the state
On May 25, Prime Minister Rama, announced a new financing program to support agriculture and rural development in the country, through a cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The program titled ‘’National Agriculture and Rural Development Guarantee Fund’’, will aim to facilitate the Government-Banks-Farmers dialogue.
This program includes a scheme in which a series of banks will be included, creating concessional terms for farmers who will acquire a loan from the banks, in order for the latter to invest this loan in increasing their agricultural activity. But according to this scheme, the farmer will have to invest only 50%, while the other 50% should be covered by the state.
The Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration, Mr. Edmond Panariti was also present in the meeting. During his speech, he expressed his enthusiasm that the Albanian state will invest 100 million Euros to transform this sector in an engine of development for the Albanian economy.
From this perspective it seems the initiative will be difficult to apply. Also, we cannot deny that farmers ‘’will be given a hand’’ to establish their activity. However, from the Prime Minister and the minister’s declarations, in no moment was it mentioned what the scheme foresees in case the investment fails. Such failure might come as a result of lack of experience, lack of proper study of conditions to achieve results in crops etc. What will happen with those farmers who are subject to this loan? Who will undertake the risk of misamanagement of money financed by the state and above all who will pay the individual loan taken by these people? If this were to happen, then the situation would bring further implications, which would directly impact the Albanian economy. Of course, it is up to economic experts to analyze the implications of this investment scheme, but anyone involved in this scheme (if it ever materializes) should take under consideration his own pocket, not the ministry’s enthusiasm.
2- Agreement with Hungary: another plan on paper or a concrete initiative?
During May, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration conducted a meeting with a delegation of the Hungarian government regarding economic diplomacy, which was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Laslo Szabo. The aim of this meeting was economic cooperation in the field of agriculture between Albania and Hungary. According to what is being reported in the official website of this Ministry, both parties expressed their will to strengthen cooperation with concrete and fast steps towards Hungarian assistance in the European integration process of Albania in the field of agriculture, assistance for IPARD program, cooperation with FAO’s regional office in Budapest, aiming at promoting projects in agriculture. Also, this meeting touched upon another important issue, related to the increase in the volume of trade in agriculture products, mainly fruits and vegetables.
Regarding this news, it is necessary to stress that no agreement was reached. The meeting started and ended in the framework of talks. Of course the initiative seems ambitious, but it is still in function of long-term plans and not concrete initiatives.
This was one of the most important news published by the ministry for May, since during this month it did not conduct any important activity or initiative regarding a specific issue. Its activity was weak therefore only a few reports were produced.
1- Agjencia Telegrafike Shqiptare. Maj 2015. Rama: Prioriteti i qeverisë, kthimi i bujqësisë në lokomotivë të zhvillimit ekonomik.
3- Ministria e Bujqësisë, Zhvillimit Rural dhe Administrimit të Ujërave. Maj 2015. Panariti-Szabo: Hungaria mbështetje të gjerë zhvillimit të bujqësisë shqiptare.