The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has provided €1 billion ($1.06 billion) to the Turkish agricultural sector since the beginning of the bank’s investment operations in Turkey, the bank said on Wednesday.
Since 2009, the European Bank has supported over 32,000 agricultural businesses in Turkey, which is the world’s seventh-largest agricultural producer and a major exporter.
“Agricultural production is a key sector of the Turkish economy and accounts for 20 percent of the country’s employment. It is essential for economic growth and rural development,” the bank said in a statement.
“The bank is working with the Turkish authorities to help develop policies that would make Turkish agribusiness more open, efficient and competitive,” it said.
Jean-Patrick Marquet, the bank’s managing director for Turkey, said the European bank had passed an important milestone in Turkey and had created employment, enhanced competitiveness and boosted economic growth.
“The bank’s finance worth over €1 billion, provided directly and through Turkish banks, has benefited tens of thousands of agricultural businesses, often in some of the most remote areas of Turkey,” Marquet said.
Over €500 million (around $530 million) financing was provided directly to almost 30 companies ranging from family-owned businesses to large industry players in the Turkish agricultural sector during the last eight years.
“In addition to direct lending, the EBRD has partnered with nine Turkish banks to channel financing worth €600 million [around $636 million] through the lenders’ countrywide networks,” the bank said.
About the Client Assessment Programme, developed by the EBRD and partner banks, to evaluate loans in agriculture, the bank said it helps lenders better assess risks, process loan applications faster and expand access to finance for smaller companies.
“Launched in the wake of the global financial crisis, CAP was instrumental in minimizing the impact of the crisis on Turkish agriculture, a sector generally considered to be risky.
“A proven success, CAP is now being taken over by Turkey’s credit information bureau, KKB, under the name of TARDES and will be offered for use to all banks in the country,” the bank added.
The EBRD, which operates from three offices in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara, Gaziantep, has been investing in the country since 2009.
According to the bank, it has invested over €9 billion (approximately $9.6 billion) through more than 220 projects during the past eight years in Turkey, which is a top destination for the bank’s finance.