WEST AFRICA – Agri Commodities & Finance FZ-LLC, the UAE subsidiary of Export Trading Group (ETG), has secured US$30.75 Million extended loan from Symbiotics, a market access platform for impact investing, and social impact investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit.
ETG is a key player in the global agriculture market, offering a diverse basket of products through its established supply chain across five continents.
The loan will support growth in ETG’s Cocoa and Cashew operations for the next three years in West Africa.
This partnership will facilitate the sourcing of certified cocoa beans and traceable cashew nuts from smallholder farmers and cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria, and strengthen ETG’s sustainability programmes in these countries.
Anish Jain, ETG’s Chief Treasury Officer, said, “We are extremely grateful for the support of Symbiotics and Oikocredit, which will help us support our cashew and cocoa operations in West Africa, and will help enhance agricultural value chains and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in this region to help in building a sustainable future.”
ETG connects smallholder farmers to global markets and has a substantial impact at smallholder level, particularly through its Beyond Beans programmes.
The programmes focus on developing smallholder farms and their communities by implementing environmental projects.
For example, the Cocoa & Forests Initiative delivers forest farmer group training, land and tree tenure, individual farmer coaching, seedling distribution and farmer empowerment.
Vincent Lehner, Symbiotics’ Head of Markets, said, “Agriculture and rural development have been crucial for economic growth in most African countries. We are delighted to start our partnership with ETG, we believe the Group’s impact and success are helping to strengthen Africa’s agricultural sector, which will reduce poverty among smallholder farmers on the continent.”
According to Yves Komaclo, Oikocredit’s Investment Manager for West Africa, ETG’s focus on smallholder farmers aligns well with the cooperative’s mission.
“Our collaboration will help sustain a market outlet for cocoa and cashew farmers, then in turn, improve livelihoods of farmer communities and contribute to the professionalisation of affiliated farmer organisations,” he said.
The investment announcement comes days after the board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a US$150 million financing facility for ETG aimed to address its working capital requirements and support its food production expansion plans across 10 countries in Africa, in a boost for smallholder farmers.
The investment will take the form of a trade and agri-finance package comprising a US$75 million soft commodity finance facility to support the group’s pre and post shipment working capital requirements, with a particular focus on export-oriented activities.
It also includes a US$75 million agriculture value-chain program to increase agriculture production and productivity, by providing improved agricultural inputs and agronomic advisory services to local farmers.
Meanwhile in India, the agri-commodity trader through ETG Agro India commissioned a state-of-the-art Nuts processing plant in Kheda, Gujarat.
Originally a pulses processor, ETG Agro India’s expansion of its product portfolio to include this niche commodity are aimed at addressing an increasing demand for nuts in the Indian Market.
The processing unit has Almond deshelling and processing capabilities, and is one of the biggest almonds processing plants in India, with a processing capacity exceeding 10 000mt of raw almonds per annum.
The sorting line is fully operated by the skilled women workers who are deployed to provide hand-picked, assorted, superior quality almonds. Nuts will be marketed under brand – ETG agro naturz – pro nuts.