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Ansprache von Botschafterin Schütz im Rahmen der Veranstaltung „Rural Credit Guarantee Foundation Supporting Albanian Agriculture”, 26.06.2018 (englisch)

26.06.2018 - Rede

Dear Minister,
Dear Romana,
Dear Mr. Korsita,
Dear Mr. Thies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Also on behalf of the German Government I would like to express my great pleasure of being a guest today at Mr. Simon Gjoka’s farm in Dajc to celebrate the successful finalization of the first phase of the Rural Credit Guarantee Fund supporting Albanian Agriculture.

As the EU Ambassador already pointed out this Fund was financed by the EU and the Albanian Government, but set up and implemented by the German development bank KfW. Over the past 3years more than 1000 private farm owners were able to profit from credits which have only been granted because they have been secured by the Fund. These credits helped to finance greenhouses, agricultural equipment, livestock and seedlings, thus, increasing productivity and income.

This means that on the one hand employment was created in the agricultural sector and the living conditions in rural areas were improved. At the same time each of those “well equipped” farmers makes the Albanian economy more competitive, contributing to its adherence to EU-standards and laying the basis for rising exports of agricultural produce to the EU Member States.

One such farmer I visited in Lushnja, and was myself able to see that thanks to the credit risk secured by the RCGF he was able to build greenhouses for various vegetables and, thus, increase the annual production. Now he can harvest three times a year and is reaping the harvest when prices are highest. And his son is helping him, no longer looking for a job abroad. This example shows that we can counter the credit crunch towards small businesses in rural areas through the RCGF.

Because this project has been so successful the German Government has decided to continue supporting the Rural Credit Guarantee Fund and provide 5 Mio Euros in fresh capital in order to meet the growing demand. This money will be used to increase the guarantee capital so that the fund can secure even more credits and more customers can be served. In addition, an expert will be financed to train the partner institutions on the specific requirements of small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas.

The German support to the Rural Credit Guarantee Foundation is one of the many programs with which Germany has contributed to Albania’s development over the past 30 years. Ever since the late 1980s, German development cooperation has helped the agricultural sector which to this day is the backbone of the Albanian economy. While the focus in the early years of our cooperation was on supplying tractors, combine harvesters and Holstein cattle as well as on setting up the first privately owned dairy farm in Tirana, thousands of Albanian farmers today receive grants to enable them to purchase modern machinery or invest in greenhouses and cold storage, thus enabling them to increase production and provide better quality.

Ladies and Gentlemen, when I talked to the young vegetable farmer in Lushnja, he mentioned further bottlenecks that hinder the development of his entrepreneurial potential: His land property title does not qualify to be used as collateral. He is neither insured against extreme weather events nor against crop failures. And he showed us a drug syringe he had found in his fertilizer bag. This shows us that much still remains to be done!

Germany will continue to actively support necessary reforms in the agricultural sector. And we will continue our financial and technical support in the fields of agriculture and rural development. With a view to the Federal Government's commitment to the Rural Credit Guarantee Foundation, I would love for the necessary administrative steps to be completed in July. Let’s join forces to provide more financial capital for rural areas - for the benefit of rural Albania and of this country as a whole.

Thank you for your attention!

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