Since May 2018, AFC has supported the implementation of the loan operation “Fruit Garden of Moldova” (FGM) that is financed from a EUR 120 million loan offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) under a finance contract signed with the Government of Moldova. The loan operation is a multi-window line of credit and addresses the structural weaknesses in the Moldovan horticulture sector.
The largest group of potential beneficiaries of this project consists of small- and medium enterprise farmers. However, they have been underrepresented in the present register of beneficiaries. To increase the share of such farmers among the beneficiaries and to ensure that all EUR 120 million loan will have the chance to be disbursed to beneficiaries during the duration of the project, AFC launched an awareness and information campaign getting up-to-date information on the eligibility criteria to potential beneficiaries.
Beyond just information, this group of small and medium-sized farmers needs to be addressed in a specific way. The seminars sensitise farmers on the benefits and risks of horticulture (vis-à-vis broad acre crops) and the support opportunities offered by FGM as well as the conditions and procedures linked to accessing loans: They demonstrate that even small businesses without a longer credit history are able to access FGM-financed loans with the help of suitable business development services and tailored technical consultation, as well as the use of instruments such as credit guarantee facilities. Moreover, the seminars introduce auxiliary schemes and instruments (such as state subsidies, donor grants and credit guarantees). As part of the seminar, visits to past horticultural investments made by small and medium-sized farmers in the vicinities are organised.
Eight out of 30 seminars have been successfully organized and carried out. Farmers and local rural advisors participated actively and discussed, with media presence and local governments showing interest.
The awareness and information campaign is implemented in cooperation with the National Agency for Rural Development (ACSA) and seminars will be held in 30 districts all over Moldova.
Farmers interested in the opportunities offered by FGM are encouraged to register for targeted business development support. Moreover, a telephone hotline with the unique number 100900 has been established offering service 24/7 (live answering during office hours, else client recording) to potential clients.