EIB credit line investments supporting the development of organic horticulture businesses in Moldova

With AMG Kernel, Zam Zam Activ, Maestro Fruits and Ygrick Group, the EIB credit line supporting horticulture has already financed four companies that adhere to the European organic standard. While AMG Kernel and Zam Zam Activ were financed for investments around post-harvest handling of organic walnuts, Maestro Fruits developed the apple processing line and Ygrick Group received financing for a facility that produces culinary speciality oils. Zam Zam Activ even combined organic production with the maximum use of renewable energies.

Irina Onceanu’s decision to investinto solar panels was inspired by an articleon the Agrobiznes portal and driven by thecompany’s need for a reliable source of energy(Picture: Agrobiznes.md, 2020)

The EIB Fruit Garden of Moldova credit line contributed 80,000 EUR of investment finance for a photovoltaic installation providing electrical energy for Zam Zam’s modern walnut kernel processing plant. Much of the company’s nut processing operations in Ialoveni District is automated, and this requires a lot of energy. “We were confronted with the problem of frequent power cuts”, says Irina Onceanu, the manager of the processing plant. “I think that about 2 times a week we did not have electricity and then we kept looking for solutions. At the same time, the energy consumption is high and bills may reach up to 40-50 thousand lei per month. Initially, we bought a generator, but then we thought of a photovoltaic system, which would provide us with electricity which is clean and lasting.” Irina says that she follows the Agrobiznes portal where she read about the EIB credit line supporting investments such as for solar panels. Being active in the production and processing of walnuts, the company qualified for a loan at preferential conditions. “It was not easy to work with the bank disbursing the loan, which required a lot of documents.” However, the business consultancy company Agri-Smart, which partners with the Fruit Garden of Moldova credit line, helped Zam Zam to take every hurdle and the loan was disbursed just in time so that the 2020 harvest could already be processed with solar energy.

Zam Zam’s business model is to produce according to international quality standards (organic, ISO, FSSC) for the export market to the Middle East and the EU mainly. The company now has 140 hectares of walnuts which were leased and then converted to certified organic production. Instead of using investment capital to plant orchards, the company leases them from farmers, so that enough money can be invested into state-of-the-art processing.

Zam Zam Activ is one of the companies that made Moldova known for its organic walnuts (Picture: Agrobiznes.md, 2020)