WASHINGTON, April 28, 2017 — A new, €20.80 million World Bank loan will help boost rural incomes in Kosovo through investments in the country’s agriculture sector, particularly horticulture and livestock. The loan builds on earlier investments, which have helped train over 2,500 farmers and agro-processors in preparing grant applications. More than 700 beneficiaries have also received grants to build greenhouses, barns and cow sheds, plant orchards, buy farm equipment and make other investments.
The Additional Financing for the Kosovo Agriculture and Rural Development Project will scale-up existing activities as well as finance new activities to enhance the project’s developmental effectiveness. It will contribute to increasing: farm and agro-enterprise productivity and profitability; agricultural exports, especially in high-value products; employment in rural areas – both long-term and seasonal; rural incomes; and economic opportunities for women and youth in the agricultural sector.
Agriculture plays a significant role in Kosovo’s economy. Over two-thirds of the country’s population lives in rural areas and is dependent on the sector for its livelihood. Despite recent gains, the sector lags in meeting its productive potential and Kosovo remains highly dependent on imports to meet its food needs.
“Agriculture is a critical sector for Kosovo’s economy, with strong potential to contribute to increased domestic productivity, export competitiveness, job creation and poverty reduction”, said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo. “The World Bank is pleased to continue to support Kosovo’s efforts to build a competitive, productive and sustainable agriculture sector”.
With project support, medium- and large-scale processing companies are becoming profitable as they increase investments in advanced technologies, increase production/productivity and improve quality of their products. Smaller companies are scaling up and upgrading their infrastructure, together with the quality of their products to the standards necessary for competitive market presence. Smallholder farmers that dominate the rural landscape are being increasingly integrated into the remunerative livestock and horticulture value chains. The project’s grant program also has built-in mechanisms to encourage women and youth to participation in and benefit from the project.
The loan is a Credit from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group, which is the fund for the countries with greatest development needs. IDA credits are provided on concessional terms with zero or very low interest charge and long repayment periods. The loan has a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.