The three institutions have started a truck leasing programme that is helping thousands of cocoa farmers from dozens of cooperatives increase profitability and productivity. Through the programme, they can lease trucks instead of purchasing them outright, thereby offsetting repair and maintenance costs.
IFC is guaranteeing 50 per cent of an up to US$6mn leasing portfolio through a risk-sharing facility with SIB, which is providing medium-term financing to cooperatives that are supplying cocoa to Cargill, allowing them to lease the trucks and transport beans to markets with greater ease. A group of 43 cooperatives took delivery of their 78 new trucks during an official launch held in Abidjan in early September 2015.
This project is part of a broader partnership between IFC and Cargill, which includes providing business training to managers from over 300 cocoa cooperatives. Lionel Soulard, managing director for West Africa at Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, said, “Farmers and their cooperatives have historically lacked access to affordable finance to grow, improve or sustain their businesses. This is a really exciting development, as access to finance and to better transportation will make a critical difference to the success of the cooperatives and to Côte d’Ivoire’s entire cocoa communities and industry.”
Cocoa production is a key pillar of Côte d’Ivoire’s economy and one of its major exports.
Cassandra Colbert, IFC’s resident representative for Côte d’Ivoire, said, “IFC is committed to the long-term growth and sustainability of Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry. Our work with Cargill and SIB is helping farmers become more professional, efficient and successful, and is literally putting them in the driving seat of business development.”
The programme has received funding from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.