"The availability of financial instruments is one of the most important incentive to encourage investment in agricultural sector, food processing industry and small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas." This was announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porodzanov at the opening of the 4th Annual Conference of the European Fund for Agriculture and Rural Development (EAFRD). Discussions during this forum are an integral part of the intensive debate on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020 under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
A boost in demand for funding provides for the implementation of investments in the projects implemented under the RDP 2014-2020, the Minister underlined. Credits granted for the last 4 years are in the range between EUR 3 billion and EUR 3.5 billion in the food industry in Bulgaria.
Minister Porodzanov pointed out that the importance of financial instruments will continue to grow in the new CAP. He recalled that great interest exist in the investment measures under the RDP, but they could cover a small part of the farms in the country and the sector would adopt other financial instruments to promote good projects that remain without financing. Thus, the shortage of funds for investments can be overcome by using new financial instruments, the Minister said.
The need for cooperation in the area of financing of the Common Agricultural Policy has also been highlighted by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan. He pointed out that the reduction of the EU agriculture budget in the next period could be balanced with the discovery of new financial instruments. A declaration for such cooperation was made by Vice-President of the European Investment Bank Andrew McDowell and the Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund Pier Luigi Gilibert.