The micro-credit project “Let’s Give Credit for the Development in Serbia” was initiated in 2001 by the Italian partners of ICS, Choros Foundation and Ethic Bank, as a symbol of solidarity and support for the small income generation activities in the Serbian economy torn by wars and crisis.
Having the principles of “ethic” financing as a basis for its activities, the aim of the Italian partners was to provide the access to the credit funds for the small and medium agricultural producers, through education and training of the local associations of the agricultural producers and the active support of the local authorities and a chosen bank.
After a one-year education and training for the chosen members of the associations, which aimed at enabling them technically for the assistance to other members when filing the applications for loans, creating a business plan, pre-selection, selection, funding and monitoring, in the chosen municipalities – Svrljig and Sokobanja – the guarantee funds were formed. The Italian partners provided one third of the total Guarantee Fund for each municipality, and granted the funds to the associations, while the municipalities and Niska Bank provided the remaining two thirds of the Fund in each municipality.
In Sokobanja, till the end of April 2004, the Association of Agricultural Producers “Centre for the Improvement of the Villages in Sokobanja Municipality”, in cooperation with Sokobanja Municipality and Niska Bank, approved 40 loans, the average value of which was 45,000 dinars. The loans were approved to small agricultural producers for different economic activities: goat raising, sheep raising, beekeeping. The loans are repaid in the period of two years, with the grace period of 6 months and the interest rate of 7 % annually.
Under the same conditions, the Association of Agricultural Producers “Agricultural Eco-centre” from Svrljig, in cooperation with Svrljig Municipality and Niska Bank, approved 36 loans to its members. The average value per loan was 50,000 dinars. Some of the proposed activities were: producing food plants, beekeeping, calf raising, poultry raising, sheep raising, milk production, and snail production.