Agriculture and agri-business place significant pressure on the environment and natural resources. It is essential that Europe encourages sustainable farming.

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in France has suffered a lot from climate change. It is a major agricultural area with more than 70 000 farms. To preserve the environment and provide people with a high-quality food system, the region has made it a priority to foster sustainable agricultural and agri-business processes, under its Neo Terra programme.

As highlighted by a feasibility study carried out by the Bank’s advisory team under the fi-compass platform, ecological investment projects in Nouvelle-Aquitaine face difficulties obtaining finance. Financing sustainable agriculture can be considered risky by banks, because it implies changes in business models and there can be uncertainty about investment returns and outcomes.


The feasibility study also identified a clear lack of information and financial background among farmers when they approach banks for financial support.

Based on the feasibility study, advisory experts, working with the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and the European Investment Fund, developed an investment strategy resulting in a guarantee instrument: Alter’NA. Guaranteeing up to 80% of each loan, the instrument allows banks to offer long-term financing at competitive conditions and with lower degrees of collateral requirements for farmers and agri-businesses.


Launched in 2019, spanning four years, the Alter’NA guarantee will make it possible to provide around €240 million for sustainable agriculture projects via three intermediary banks: Crédit Agricole, Banque Populaire and CIC/Crédit Mutuel. The guarantee benefits from €36 million of public funding from the European Union and France.

To support as many farmers and agri-businesses as possible, the guarantee instrument is combined with technical support that helps project promoters in their Alter’NA loan application process and also offers help to local stakeholders. The Advisory Hub supported the development of this web-based platform.

The launch of the web platform has brought great visibility to the Alter’NA guarantee and its benefits. Thanks to this new tool we have seen a real uptake in the transition to sustainable agriculture from farmers and agri-businesses in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

  • Camille Massol, Head of Transversal Projects, Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region

Helping farmers and agri-businesses get the most out of the Alter’NA guarantee

To encourage farmers and agri-businesses to apply for the Alter’NA guarantee, Bank advisory experts, mobilised by the Advisory Hub, designed and developed a comprehensive web-based platform offering a technical support package (www.alter-na.fr).

This web-based platform provides information about the guarantee instrument, and more importantly gives access to tools that let farmers and agri-businesses check the eligibility of their projects before applying for the Alter’NA guarantee.


The platform also includes online training on the assessment tools as well as credit application templates. Additionally, the platform connects project promoters with local agriculture experts and the three intermediary banks. The platform helps the banks and the local agriculture experts accelerate and ease the credit application process, keeping them informed of potential projects coming their way. This improves the overall readiness of the projects and facilitates knowledge transfer between everyone involved.

"The success of this web platform is the result of excellent collaboration between teams in the region, the EIF, and EIB advisory services. The Advisory Hub provided extensive support in the development of the tools, training, advisory packages and video content. Their expertise and involvement have contributed greatly to the success of the project."

  • Camille Massol, Head of Transversal Projects, Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region

Tasty tomatoes

Thanks to the Alter’NA guarantee, Tomatec, a tomato producer in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, can grow tasty tomatoes in a sustainable and competitive fashion. The guarantee provided by Alter’NA allowed Tomatec to take out a new loan, build an eco-greenhouse and expand production. Watch this short video to find out more.

We strongly recommend this type of guarantee-backed loan to farmers wishing to invest in their farm to turn to a more sustainable form of agriculture.

  • Isabelle Bergara, farmer and agricultural entrepreneur

Standing out from the herd

Patrick and Isabelle Bergara, farmers and entrepreneurs in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, diversified their activities by producing the world-famous Espelette pepper and moving from breeding sheep to the production of goats’ milk. This became possible thanks to the Alter’NA guarantee.