The Azerbaijan Agricultural Finance Facility (AZAFF) is an initiative of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), with technical assistance funds provided by the European Union Neighbourhood Investment Facility.
AzAFF offers an effective response to address the multi-dimensional nature of agri-finance, including access to finance by: (i) increasing the availability of credit to Azerbaijani farmers/agricultural MSMEs through dedicated credit lines up to USD 40M, (ii) removing constraints to credit, (iii) adjusting demand and supply through the Technical Assistance (TA) component, and (iv) enhancing the financial, managerial and production capabilities of end beneficiaries, which will stimulate demand for financial products and services while increasing their productivity and efficiency.
During the course of the TA Project, Frankfurt School experts worked on several layers that address the following items.
Frankfurt School`s Agricultural Loan Evaluation System was adapted to the Azerbaijani environment (AzALES). The system automates agri-loan assessment and makes the agri-lending process more productive and efficient for PFIs. This TA included the transformation of the excel-based tool into a web-based solution.
To better understand the agricultural market potential in Azerbaijan and the current financing patterns of agricultural producers, Frankfurt School experts first conducted an Agricultural Market Study to identify the most appropriate and effective market entry strategies for the potential PFIs and support PFIs in adapting lending products and policies to the needs of the target group.
To ensure that the data can be used on a country-wide basis, the AzAFF technical team defined regional multipliers for each region and integrated yield multipliers for 45 crops. The AzAFF technical team conducted 1,283 product-specific farmer interviews in eight economic regions of Azerbaijan and customised AzALES with the development of 45 agricultural product reports (tech-cards) to keep data about crop production, dairy farming, cattle breeding, poultry and sheep breeding up to date.
To ensure usage of AzALES beyond the end of the TA, the management of AzALES has been transferred to Azerbaijan´s Agency for Agricultural Credit and Development (AACD). This will ensure the provision of centralised data to the Azerbaijani financial sector and the Agricultural Economics Research Centre, as both entities are connected to the Ministry of Agriculture. The transfer included the training of AACD staff to manage, monitor and maintain AzALES and integrate it with the institution.
Delivery of training programmes with participants from 18 PFIs in the topics of Agricultural Marketing & Sales, Agricultural Lending, AzALES, Agricultural Project/Investment Finance and Agricultural on the job coaching.
Organisation of a study tour to Turkey with 14 participants from AACD and PFI staff to learn about EBRD´s agricultural finance programme and its implementation.
Senior Project Manager