BELGIUM – Alterfin, a Belgian social investor has secured funds from AgriFi and BIO amounting to US$7.1 million to enhance investment in smallholder farming in developing countries.
AgriFI, the Agriculture Financing Initiative funded by the EU, and BIO, are reported to have each invested about US$3.55 million in the Belgian social investor.
“AgriFI’s senior unsecured loan of €3m should enable Alterfin to grow its portfolio mainly in Africa and Asia,” explained Guillaume Simões, AgriFI Investment Officer at EDFI Management Company.
Simoes further explained that the investment will allow the organisation to provide financing to more than 25,000 smallholder farmers each year.
Founded in 1994, Alterfin invests in microfinance and sustainable agriculture in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Alterfin aims to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of socially and economically disadvantaged communities, predominantly in rural areas of low and middle-income countries.
The social investor focuses both on the financing of the agricultural value chain via investments in SMEs and producers’ organisations and the microfinance sector.
To date, Alterfin involves more than 6,000 cooperative members, of which a vast majority are private individuals.
“Alterfin is a real catalyst for these organisations and allows them to attract not only other investors but also buyers,” Dimitry Van Raemdonck, AgriFI Manager at EDFI Management Company, said.
Alterfin is currently active in 38 countries, supporting sustainable agriculture by financing 15 agricultural value chains.
“The proximity of Alterfin to its partners on the field and its capacity to offer flexible financial solutions when the market cannot answer the needs have impressed us,” Harold Grisar, Investment Officer at BIO said.
“We believe that BIO’s 5-year term loan to Alterfin will provide it the necessary means to leverage its action and fully achieve its mission,” added Harold Grisar.
In addition to fostering financial inclusion, the organisation is firmly devoted to sustainable farming.
Out of all the SMEs and producer’s organisations supported by Alterfin 90% are certified organic and 80% have fair trade certifications.
Through this focus on sustainable agriculture in developing countries, Alterfin helps fight poverty, create jobs, increase food security and reduce gender inequalities while respecting the environment.
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