Multi-million dollar boost for Africa’s farmers

In a move that will help farmers and soft commodity suppliers to grow their revenues, the African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday signed a US$100-million loan agreement for a soft commodity finance facility (SCFF) with the Export Trading Group (ETC).

According to AfDB director general for the southern Africa region, Josephine Ngure, the facility will contribute significantly to improving food productivity in Africa. “But most importantly it will also contribute to value addition and the wide distribution of food across the continent using ETC’s broad distribution networks,” she said.

“The facility would also contribute to smallholder farmers’ access to inputs, mechanisation and access to international markets, thereby ensuring significant revenues to farmers, integration of poorer sections of the population into a sustainable process of economic growth and development and regional integration by developing sustainable platforms to supply local and regional markets.”

The agreement will provide pre- and post-shipment finance along various stages of ETC’s commodity value chain operations in 17 countries in Africa.

It will also be used to finance the procurement of identified agricultural commodities from over 600 000 farmers as well as farm inputs for the farmers to ensure the consistency and quality of the commodities being supplied. Upon purchase of the commodities, the SCFF will provide working capital to ECT for value addition or processing of the soft commodities.

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