The Food for Progress (FFPA) program in Albania, implemented by IFDC, was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA/FFPA program was designed for countries that made commitments to introduce or expand free market elements in their agricultural economies. IFDC’s program addressed the absence of credit for agribusiness development in Albania. The original project was from 2003 to the end of 2005. This project and the Credit Enhancement Fund continued until 2011.
FFPA had two objectives:
- Support private sector development of agribusiness enterprises engaged in feed milling or meat, dairy and egg production by providing technical assistance and linkages to world market sources and market development programs
- Establish an agribusiness credit guarantee by providing an escrow account at the American Bank of Albania (ABA)
IFDC generated funds to support these objectives and the resulting activities in Albania by monetizing 10,000 metric tons (mt) of maize and 6,000 mt of soybean meal provided by USDA. IFDC used a transparent sealed bid process that attracted more than 100 participants in each of three auctions and was successful in obtaining winning bids that reflected international commodity prices.
Total funds generated through the monetization activity were more than $4 million, exceeding the goal by over $1 million. More than $1 million was used for technical and market development assistance to emerging livestock and feed milling enterprises.
Activities focused on experimental feeding trials for poultry, dairy cattle and swine and the dissemination of results showing production and economic benefits derived from the use of improved feed formulations. The feed formulations were based on quality maize and high protein (48 percent) soybean meal provided by USDA. Demand for these raw materials by the feed milling industry and its farmer clients resulted in the additional purchase of 8,000 mt of maize and high protein soybean meal directly from the international market by the Albanian private sector.
IFDC partnered with the ABA to provide credit for agribusiness ventures not serviced by the banking sector. IFDC assisted potential clients seeking loans guaranteed from the IFDC/Albania loan guarantee fund by performing an initial review of the financial soundness of each business proposal. For those identified as feasible candidates, IFDC provided additional assistance to develop a business plan. Candidates were then provided guidance through the loan application process at the bank and ABA assumed responsibility for final loan approval. Loans totaling $526,000 (20 percent of the fund) were disbursed. An additional $120,000 was approved pending documentation of the landowner’s title. Based on the success of this project, a financially sound revolving credit fund (the Credit Enhancement Fund) was launched with the purpose of expanding agribusiness activity in Albania.
Photo Captions and Credits:
Left Photo: Greenhouse in Albania. Photo by John Allgood
Right Photo: Greenhouse in Albania. Photo by John Allgood