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AfDB approves US$150mn to support trade and agriculture value-chain development

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$150mn facility to ETC Group Limited to manage 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 US$75mn 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$75mn agriculture value-chain programme to increase agriculture production and productivity, by providing improved agricultural inputs and agronomic advisory services to local farmers.

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.

Speaking about the loan, AfDB vice-president, agriculture, human and social development Dr Beth Dunford said, “Working with an African agro-champion like ETC was important to achieve the bank’s developmental goal in order to support millions of small holder farmers across the continent and contribute to increased agriculture production and food security, in the process”.

Solomon Quaynor, vice-president for private sector, infrastructure and industrialisation, added, “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.

Director general of AfDB’s southern Africa region Leila Mokadem said, “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”.