In a boost for smallholder farmers, the Export Trading Company (ETC) Group is poised to get a US$150 million financing facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to meet its working capital needs and support its food production expansion ambitions across 10 African countries.
The investment, which has been approved by the African Development Bank’s Board of Directors, will take the form of a trade and agri-finance package that includes a US$75 million soft commodity finance facility to support the group’s pre- and post-shipment working capital needs, with a particular focus on export-oriented activities.
It also includes a $75 million agriculture value-chain programme to boost agriculture production and productivity by providing local farmers with better agricultural inputs and agronomic advice.
ETC is a pan-African agriculture conglomerate that trades millions of tonnes of commodities in various agricultural value chains across Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia (cashew nuts, sesame seeds, pulses etc.).
Smallholder farmers, many of whom are women and young entrepreneurs, will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this initiative, whose productivity is predicted to rise as a result of the deployment of high-quality agricultural inputs in ten African countries. This intervention will mostly benefit rural women.
“Working with an African agro-champion like ETC was critical towards achieving the Bank’s developmental goal of supporting millions of small holder farmers across the continent and contributing to increased agriculture production and food security in the process,” said African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Beth Dunford.
By allowing ETC to process and package agricultural products locally while boosting the value-added of export-oriented products, the investment will go a long way toward contributing to food import substitution.
The operations of the ETC Group span 26 African countries. Agricultural inputs, cash-traded products including pulses and rice, exchange-traded products, logistics, and retail consumer goods are all part of their operation.