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Agriculture gets a USD150-million boost

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Rural women will also benefit greatly from this intervention. Image credit: Annie Spratt from Unsplash

Agriculture gets a USD150-million boost

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a USD150-million facility to ETC Group to address the company’s 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 USD75-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 USD75-million agriculture value-chain program to increase agriculture production and productivity, by providing improved agricultural inputs and agronomic advisory services to local farmers.

ETC is a pan-African agriculture conglomerate with a footprint expanding across Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, Europe, Middle East, and Southeast Asia, trading millions of tons in soft commodities.

The ultimate beneficiaries of this intervention will include smallholder farmers, a significant number being women and youth entrepreneurs across 10 African countries, whose productivity is expected to increase from the deployment of high-quality agricultural inputs. Rural women will also benefit greatly from this intervention.

Commenting on the loan, African Development Bank Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development Dr. Beth Dunford, said that working with an African agro-champion like ETC was critical towards achieving the Bank’s developmental goal to support millions of small holder farmers across the continent and contribute to increased agriculture production and food security, in the process.

According to Solomon Quaynor, Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization the Bank’s investment into ETC Group will go a long way in contributing to food import substitution by allowing ETC to process and package agricultural products locally while increasing value-addition of export-oriented products.

“The advent of Covid-19 has caused major disruptions in agricultural value chains worldwide. The proposed facility will therefore be a key enabler in supporting ETC’s build-back strategy on the African continent, specifically in LICs and Transition states,” says Director General of the Bank’s Southern Africa region, Leila Mokadem.

ETC Group’s operations cover 26 African countries. Their business activities cover agricultural inputs, cash -traded products such as pulses and rice, exchange-traded products, logistics, and retail consumer goods.

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