Press Release: ABC Fund Makes First Investment, Backing Cocoa Cooperative in Côte D’Ivoire

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund) has made its first investment. The ABC Fund, managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, in partnership with Injaro Investments, has invested in a cocoa cooperative based in Côte d’Ivoire – Socak Katana. This investment will help the cocoa farmers secure market access and revenue. The financial details of this transaction are not disclosed.

Located in the North Western Region of Côte d’Ivoire, Socak Katana has over 2,700 members and procures raw cocoa from its members before processing, transporting, storing and selling the cocoa beans to local and international buyers. It provides other services including technical assistance and training of cooperative members. Currently, the cooperative has a total production capacity of 6,000 metric tons with a total of about 8,400 hectares under cultivation by the cocoa farmers. The cooperative is Fairtrade certified[1] and 54% of the cooperative’s cocoa farmers are UTZ certified[2].

The investment will help secure revenue for smallholder farmers, by providing the cooperative with funds needed to buy their production. The cooperative also enables its members to earn a better price by benefitting from premiums under Fairtrade and UTZ certifications. It will also increase the number of people Socak Katana temporarily and permanently employs due to the increase in the volume of cocoa to be handled. This investment is a first step towards the ABC Fund’s goal to support rural employment and improve farmers’ livelihood in developing countries.

Jerry Parkes, CEO of Injaro Investments Ltd commented: “We are excited about this first investment of the ABC Fund that will increase farmers’ earnings and support rural communities. Improving earnings for rural farmers has an important multiplier effect as each farmer typically supports several household members. We look forward to making more investments that demonstrate the power of impact capital to improve lives in rural agricultural communities”.

This investment is the first of a series of ABC Fund investments into cocoa cooperatives which have enjoyed important growth in recent years and count almost 10,000 producers among their members.

Cocoa production is a major economic growth driver for West Africa. Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa beans, is particularly dependent on the crop, which accounts for 30% of national export income[3]. Small-scale farming is one of the biggest industries in the world, with 500 million small farms and 2.5 billion people relying on small-scale farming every day, significantly contributing to food security in developing countries.

Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Founder and Managing Partner of Bamboo Capital Partners commented: “This first investment is a symbolic moment for the ABC Fund. A few months after its incorporation, the fund is already contributing towards supporting livelihood and creating jobs for cocoa farmers’ communities in Côte d’Ivoire. This is the first step on our journey to transform small-scale farming in developing countries and we look forward to announcing further investments in due course.”

The ABC Fund is a blended-finance impact fund which provides catalytic financing to underserved yet profitable segments of agribusiness value chains in developing countries. The ABC Fund deploys loans and equity investments in farmer organizations, rural SMEs and financial institutions. They have potential for high growth and job creation, and can also drive social development for their own communities and countries, but they often lack the capital they need to grow their businesses. The demand for impact investing in rural agriculture is growing as investors strive to end poverty and hunger to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The ABC Fund was initiated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development in partnership and with funding from the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, the Luxembourg Government and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

Photo courtesy of Irene Scott / AusAID.

Source: Press Release

Agriculture, Investing
blended finance, development finance, impact investing, rural development, smallholder farmers