EBRD boosts Bulgaria’s arable land market

By Olga Rosca

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Elana Agrocredit offers long-term financial lease contracts to farmers seeking to acquire land.

€5 million loan to Elana Agrocredit to help farmers become landowners

In a new boost to Bulgaria’s agriculture, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €5 million to loan to Elana Agrocredit, a local business offering long-term financial lease contracts to farmers seeking to acquire agricultural land.

This is the second EBRD loan for the company and aims to support the development of Bulgaria’s agricultural land market. As the economic significance of agriculture is growing, private land ownership is expected to lead to further investments that will modernise the sector and support the sustainable use of land.

Arable land accounts for 50 per cent of Bulgaria’s territory but only 23 per cent of it is currently owned by farmers. The remainder belongs to individuals, institutional investors, municipalities and the state.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti signed the loan agreement during a visit to Sofia. He said: “We are pleased to be helping Bulgarian farmers to become landowners. Ownership of the land will give them the confidence to undertake long-term investments resulting in improved yields and more sustainable practices.”

Kamen Kolchev, Chairman and CEO of Elana Agrocredit, added: “We are very pleased with our long-term relationship with the EBRD. Thanks to the Bank’s support Elana Agrocredit has become the preferred partner for Bulgarian farmers.”

A joint-stock company, Elana Agrocredit is listed on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange and owned by local institutional investors and individuals. Elana Agrocredit is licensed by the Bulgarian National Bank as a credit institution.

To date, the EBRD – one of the largest institutional investors in Bulgaria – has invested over €3.3 billion in more than 230 projects in the country. Some 80 per cent of the Bank’s investments in Bulgaria are in the private sector.

In Bulgaria, the EBRD focuses on enhancing the competitiveness of companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, through improved efficiency, governance and innovation; strengthening financial sector intermediation; and narrowing the infrastructure gap through commercialisation, reform and efficiency.

The Bank’s operations in the country are headed by Larisa Manastirli.

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