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The blog

Agriculture, food and rural development

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The agriculture and fisheries sectors with their upstream and downstream industries are the key contributors to economic growth in the world’s rural and coastal regions. Smart and sustainable management of bio-based value chains also plays a vital role in food security, healthy diets and resilience to climate change. At the same time they produce valuable inputs for innovative bio-economy pathways that are critical for greening the economy. The EIB supports the rural economy - generating benefits for both private enterprises and society as a whole - through its long-term financing and provision of technical advice and assistance.

Our 2016 investments in the agriculture sector and its related industries

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Our lending activities cover the whole agri-food and fishery value chain, ranging from input and equipment supply to wholesale and retail networks. We provide financing for investments that make a significant contribution to:

  • more resource efficient agricultural and food production,
  • improved or restored ecosystems,
  • innovative solutions for current and future challenges in the sector, and/or
  • the productive and sustainable use of by-products from agricultural or food production.

We require that best available technologies are applied in our projects but finance also first of its kind technologies and innovative concepts. Our approach is aligned to EU standards and priorities.

Focus on sustainability and rural livelihoods

  • Helping to meet growing demand for food
    Population growth is expected to increase demand for food substantially over the next 20 years. We are helping food producers to meet this challenge through development and deployment of innovative and sustainable solutions. We also help farmers to strengthen their overall productivity through enhanced access to finance for investments into good agricultural practices, infrastructure and modern technologies.
  • Sustainable and inclusive rural development
    Micro-enterprises and SMEs contribute significantly to rural economies and employment generation, thereby acting as a restraint to rural-urban migration. We provide finance to national and regional governments implementing their rural or agricultural development programs and support, if necessary, the government in their implementation. Those investments have the potential to contribute to enhanced rural livelihoods and improved resource efficiency.
    We also support investments in rural infrastructure – a potential bottleneck to sustainable rural development. Our involvement in such projects often enables promoters to implement their project, thanks to the long-term financing we can offer.
  • Climate-smart and innovative resource management
    Only limited levels of resources, including land/soil, water, fossil fuels and minerals, are available for agricultural production. Changing weather patterns brought on by global warming threaten fragile ecosystems and livelihoods. This makes it essential to invest in activities and research that prioritise climate-resilient production, the use of renewable energy and sustainable natural resource management.

Boosting support to EU young farmers

We are unlocking EUR 2 billion for agriculture across Europe with special support for young farmers. This initiative aims to scale-up investment for the agricultural sector, long underserved by the banking system due to its higher perceived risk.

Finance for innovative Mediterranean diet technology

Creta Farms injects olive oil into its meat and gets a cash injection from the Investment Plan for Europe

« Normandy Dairy Production Facility » with Maîtres Laitiers du Cotentin

Puratos Inspirience Center

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The EIB has financed two consecutive research and innovation programmes by the Belgian company Puratos backing the production and commercialisation of healthier and more nutritious ingredients for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sector for both artisans and industrial customers. Watch this video to see how Puratos experts develop solutions, driven by EIB finance.

An EIB loan backing the Romanian contribution to EAFRD support

We have signed a loan contract to provide in total EUR 300 million to finance priority projects under the Romanian Rural Development Programme for 2007-2013, particularly afforestation, improvement of forest management and protection and environmental performance of farmers. The project is expected to generate employment in Romania’s rural areas, increase the use of renewable energy resources such as biogas and biomass and reduce surface and groundwater pollution from animal husbandry.



Investment needs vary widely depending on a project’s scale and its position in the value chain. To meet project-specific needs, we do our best in tailoring our services to their demands and requirements.

  • Project loans: Project loans can enable, for example private food companies to invest in energy- and resource saving or RDI programs with long-payback periods.
  • Intermediated loans: Thanks to this lending product, we are able to finance SMEs and microenterprises active in agriculture and fisheries.
  • Framework loans: Framework loans can be - for example - granted to co-finance national and regional operational plans under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).


  • Natural Capital Financing Facility: A facility, supported by the European Commission, to support projects which promote the preservation of natural capital in the EU Member States.
  • InnovFin: InnovFin consists of financing tools and advisory services to support innovations in line with the Horizon 2020 sections covering also agriculture and food production.


  • fi-compass: Platform providing practical know-how and learning tools on ESIF Financial Instruments and microfinance under the programme EaSI.
  • Advice on FIs under the EAFRD/EMFF: EIB may provide support in various manners regarding the implementation of financial instruments to EU managing authorities.