Japan supports farmers have easier access to credit

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 6, 2019 16:17

Japan supports farmers have easier access to credit

TIRANA, Feb. 6 – Japan is supporting Albanian farmers to have easier accesses to microcredit in order to get self-employed in the key agriculture sector and even start businesses.

The support is being provided by JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, through Fed Invest, Albania’s largest financial cooperative, as part of a four-year project launched last year targeting the financial inclusion of smallholder households facing difficulty in obtaining traditional bank loans.

The ‘Smallholder Families’ Financial Inclusion Project in Albania” is a €4 million project supported by JICA in partnership with the Albanian Ministry of Finance and Economy, and implemented by the FED invest financial institution. The projects aims at upgrading the overall IT environment and help more than 50,000 Albanian smallholder households living in rural and peri-urban areas facing difficulties in securing a traditional bank loan to get better access to finance in order to become self-employed or set up their own business, Japan’s embassy in Tirana said in a statement.

Following a needs assessment survey with rural households and the introduction of up-to-date IT environment at FED invest, the project’s focus during this year will be on developing financial products and non-financial services.

Agriculture is a key sector for the Albanian economy, employing around half of the country’s population but producing only a fifth of the country’s national output due to key barriers such as sharp fragmentation of farm land into small plots, unclear property titles, poor access to credit and subsidies and lack of key infrastructure such as irrigation and machinery.

The world’s third-largest economy, Japan has been a major donor to Albania through its difficult transition from communism to a free-market economy. Tokyo has given millions, primarily in the rehabilitation of infrastructure and healthcare facilities and since mid-2017 is represented in Tirana by Makoto Ito as the first resident ambassador after the two countries re-established diplomatic relations in 1981.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 6, 2019 16:17