February 12

Press Release: Global Partnerships and Acceso El Salvador Announce New Partnership to Further Improve the Opportunities and Incomes of Salvadoran Smallholder Farmers and Fishers Through Expanding Into High-Value Processing

Global Partnerships Social Investment Fund 6.0 issued a $750,000 USD loan to Acceso Oferta Local – Productos de El Salvador (“Acceso El Salvador”). Acceso El Salvador is the leading local agribusiness working with smallholder farmers and fishers to boost agricultural productivity, create job opportunities, and cement long-term market linkages.

The business purchases more than 60 types of fruits, vegetables, fish, and seafood from producers and sells directly to the largest national supermarket chain Super Selectos, Subway, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, and other local restaurants. The loan will be used to support the business’ growth into high-value processing, including building a new fish and seafood processing center to enhance its processing capacity and long-term export potential, and expanding its supply of high-quality tilapia fingerlings provided to fishers.

As of 2014, the poverty rate in El Salvador’s rural areas, where approximately one third of the population lives, was 38 percent. Smallholder producers in rural areas have limited access to financing to invest in productive assets, like irrigation systems, and quality inputs, like seeds and fish food, to improve their yields and product quality. As a result, it is difficult for them to sell into secure, formal markets; they face multiple many levels of intermediation to get their products into informal markets with little profits being returned to them. Meanwhile, buyers such as Super Selectos and Subway faced challenges sourcing local products that met their quality and traceability requirements and were forced to import significant volumes in the past.

Acceso El Salvador was built in 2014 to improve farmers’ and fishers’ incomes and lift them out of poverty through establishing long-term, quality markets for their products. Acceso El Salvador provides technical assistance to producers; purchases their products at fair prices; operates multiple collection centers for processing; and plans and manages all logistics routes for deliveries to its clients. With its market-driven approach, Acceso has helped Super Selectos and other customers significantly increase their local sourcing, boosting the local economy. The business has directly impacted more than 1,000 farmers and fishers and created long-term jobs for its local team of 100 people, many of whom are women who were previously unemployed.

Acceso El Salvador was established by Acceso, which builds social agribusinesses as a sustainable, for-profit approach to alleviating poverty. Acceso builds from scratch, invests start-up capital, manages, and scales agribusinesses that work with smallholder producers. In the last five years, Acceso built businesses in El Salvador, Colombia, and Haiti and is currently scaling them while exploring replication opportunities across Latin America and the Caribbean. Acceso El Salvador’s early investors were Frank Giustra and Fundación Carlos Slim who were interested in testing a pioneering social business model.

Global Partnerships, whose goal is to expand opportunity for people living in poverty through impact investing, will support Acceso El Salvador’s growth through this new loan. This loan is pivotal for the business to expand its innovative, end-to-end approach of providing services and delivering value to smallholder producers.

“Acceso El Salvador is playing a critical role in lifting farmers and fishers out of poverty and boosting local economic development by building local value chains tied to sustainable markets. Global Partnerships is proud to support Acceso El Salvador and help them grow their social and financial impact in local communities.” Mark Coffey, president and chief investment officer of Global Partnerships.

“We are excited to be partnering with Global Partnerships who shares our goal of improving incomes and transforming lives in low-income communities through high-impact, market-based models. Their support will allow us to continue delivering value to smallholder producers and we look forward to growing Acceso El Salvador and its impact together,” Frank Giustra, co-founder of Acceso.

Photo courtesy of Maria Fleischmann.

Source: Press Release

Agriculture, Investing
global development, poverty alleviation, smallholder farmers