Situated in the Mija village, the I.L. Caragiale commune in Dambovita, MerryBerry is the largest organic blueberry plantation in Romania. It currently covers a 100 hectares area, on which the shrubs were planted in 2016 – 2017, meaning that it will reach an annual production of over 1,500 tons of blueberries, starting 2021. Thus, MerryBerry has the potential to become the largest organic blueberries plantation in Europe, competing with the big established producers in Spain, Poland, Germany and France.
The MerryBerry plantation distinguishes by its efficiency and technology: it has modern video surveillance systems, GPS monitoring of the machines and an irrigation system that ensures fruit production regardless of the rainfall water supply. Besides irrigating the crop of blueberries, this system also allows the introduction of fertilizers in the irrigation water after a predetermined nutrition program, at different stages of crop development. The fruits are harvested year by year in June, July and August.
OTP Bank România financed with RON 10.5 million the construction of the MerryBerry refrigerated warehouse, necessary for keeping the blueberries in optimal conditions, sorting them and delivering them in the best conditions to the stores in Romania, England or Germany where the company has distribution contracts. For immediate access after harvesting the fruit, it is located in the middle of the MerryBerry plantation and will use the most advanced refrigeration technologies, thus ensuring the freshness of the fruit. The surface of the warehouse is 2500 square meters, and among its facilities there is a high performance automatic sorting and packing line. The warehouse will have three cooling chambers and five CA / ULO chambers.
„Our contribution to the agribusiness sector is a long-term one and we work closely with the Romanian farmers regardless of the size of their business. Thus, we had the opportunity to observe their tendency to invest in technology more and more, which is why we decided to expand the range of products and services addressed to them. We have for products and services designed to support them in this endeavor, having the potential to change the Romanian agriculture for the better. Financing the MerryBerry deposit is another step we take in this direction”, said Alexandru Neagu, SME Division Director, OTP Bank România.
„Being the fastest growing blueberry plantation in Romania, for the last 2 years we have encountered many obstacles, of which financing has been an essential point of our development. Being a new domain in Romania to which the banking system will probably adapt in 5-10 years, we found in OTP Bank a partner with know-how and willing to follow the latest market trends. Together we aim to reach 200 hectares planted and to be a major player at European level”, said Camil Perian, MerryBerry General Manager.
Last year, OTP Bank România registered a 112 percent increase in the volume of new financing granted for agriculture, the increase being supported by the high demand for pre-financing through the Credit for Double Pre-financing of SAPS Grants, and also for investments.
OTP Bank Romania relies on the development of the portfolio destined to the agriculture sector by extending and customizing the products and services that are addressed to the clients in this field, collaborating with large agricultural exploitations, and with small and family initiatives.
Regarding the purpose of the requested financing, the credits for the clients of the agribusiness sector are for farmers who either need financing working capital to carry out current activities, or need investments for the purchase of agricultural land, new agricultural equipment, for farm modernization, and for other development activities such as research.