WEST AFRICA – The Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund), managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, Injaro and Agriterra, has provided loans to three agri-businesses in West Africa, to support their working capital needs and expansion strategies.
The backing from the blended-finance impact fund, will also enable the farmers to secure market access in their respective sectors and foster higher rural employment opportunities.
The ABC Fund has provided a loan of EUR450,000 (US$546,421) to Kaworo based in Burkina Faso, a producer of grains (mainly maize, millet, sesame, cowpeas and sorghum) and seeds, to finance the purchase of grains for the 2021/2022 farming season.
The loan is expected to enable the company to increase the number of farmers it works with, providing additional income to the new participants.
The scheme currently has 525 out growers of which 28 per cent are women and 40 per cent are youth.
The total land under cultivation by out growers is 1,500 Hectares. In 2019/2020, Kaworo managed to produce a total of 1,753 tons of cereals.
“Given the challenges caused by the global pandemic, we are pleased to have approved these loans in time to meet the seasonal working capital needs of these agri-businesses which are all important contributors to West Africa’s rural economies.“Solène Prince-Agbodjan – Investment Director at Injaro
The second beneficiary is Etablissement Yaffa et Frères (EYF), one of the largest local fresh mangoe exporters in Mali.
The company is the only business in the country to deliver mangoes directly from its packing facility to supermarkets by air freight.
It received EUR250,000 (US$303,567) in working capital to purchase the fruits and finance related export costs, to meet the increased European demand for the product.
The ABC Fund’s financing will also enable EYF to continue buying mangoes from the current 310 farmers and employing 200 seasonal workers on the packaging site.
Meanwhile, ROCFED, an exporter of mangos from the Côte d’Ivoire, buying from local farmers to sell into European markets, has received a EUR300,000 (US$364,281) loan from the fund.
The loan will be used by ROCFED to purchase mangos from over 200 producers at a higher price than the market price, providing a stable revenue for families across the region.
The loan will also be used to hire five new permanent staff and 130 seasonal workers for this year’s season.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with three promising businesses and are proud to support their expansion during this busy season,” Susan Tirop, Investment Director Africa at Bamboo Capital Partners, said.
“The ABC Fund will allow these businesses to expand their operations and consequently the market for smallholder farmers. We look forward to working alongside the Kaworo, Yaffa et Frères and ROCFED teams and are excited to see their future success,” she added.
The two loans in the mango sector enable the provision of financing to SMEs that usually do not have access to local finance, with financial institutions being reluctant to finance the mango activity due the short harvest season, lasting only 3-4 months a year.
Solène Prince-Agbodjan, Investment Director at Injaro said, “Given the challenges caused by the global pandemic, we are pleased to have approved these loans in time to meet the seasonal working capital needs of these agri-businesses which are all important contributors to West Africa’s rural economies.
“We commend the business owners and the team members for their hard work and persistence that made this possible. We look forward to a long and impactful relationship between these promising businesses and the ABC Fund.”
Prior to the above-mentioned investments, the ABC Fund has provided funding to three farmers cooperatives in Ivory Coast, three small-and medium agribusinesses in Burkina Faso and Ghana and two financial institutions operating in Ecuador, Kenya and Uganda which on-lend to smallholder farmers, for a total value of US$11 million.
So far, about 18,000 small-scale farmers and their families have benefited from these investments and about 640 jobs have been created in rural areas.
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