Staff Writer l Palladium - Aug 23 2023
Investing in Smallholder Farmers and Agriculture: ABC Fund Releases 2022 Impact Report

Around the world in developing countries, the Agribusiness Capital Fund (ABC Fund) provides catalytic financing to underserved yet profitable segments of agribusiness value chains. Managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, the asset management arm of Palladium’s impact investing business, the ABC Fund was launched in 2019 and has since addressed massive financing gaps by offering investments tailored to small businesses’ specific needs in some of the world’s poorest countries.

In 2022, the ABC Fund continued to deliver transformative support to agri-SMEs, cooperatives, and financial intermediaries operating in Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda. These included investments in seven new companies, as well as follow-on transactions with companies that had previously received financing from the Fund.

“By delivering an integrated package of financial solutions and technical assistance to innovative and impactful organisations, the ABC Fund is supporting agricultural ecosystems and in turn, helping to drive inclusive food systems in the communities in which it operates,” notes Thouraya Triki, Chair of the Board of the ABC Fund, Director of IFAD’s Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division.

The ABC Fund’s recently released 2022 Impact Report showcases the continued support to smallholder farmers and financial intermediaries, through a total of €14.7 million worth of investments. Small and medium-sized enterprises constitute the majority of businesses within the agri-food sector in developing countries and while they have the potential to transform global food systems and to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, many of these small businesses struggle to access the funds needed to help them develop and grow.

This makes the investments and support the ABC Fund provides all the more critical.

“In 2022, the ABC Fund continued to fulfil its mission to support smallholder farmers across developing countries with a series of new investments enabling agribusinesses to increase their production and financial intermediaries to further reach smallholder farmers,” notes Bamboo Capital Partners Founder and Managing Partner Jean-Philippe de Schrevel. “Through these investments, the Fund contributes to sustain the livelihoods of local farmers, increase their resilience to climate change and reinforce agricultural value chains in its target countries. Beyond financing, the Fund also provides Technical Assistance to help strengthen the organisations pre- and post-investments, through its Technical Assistance Facility as well as its new partnership with the Smallholder Safety Net Upscaling Program."

In 2022, the ABC Fund selected four organisations to receive technical assistance that ranged from digitisation and development of online apps to speed up financial service delivery, risk and environmental management, to enterprise resource planning, market identification, and support acquiring certifications. Critically, technical assistance is a collaborative process between investees and the fund’s Technical Assistance Facility to ensure that they receive input and advice on their specific needs.

The Impact Report shares the stories of several beneficiaries around the world, including a pineapple juice processor in Benin, a soybean processor in Ghana, and a microfinance institution in Colombia. As 2030 and the deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals quickly approaches, the ABC Fund’s continued work ensuring that challenges like ending poverty and building sustainable value chains will remain critical.

Read the report and learn more about the ABC Fund and Bamboo Capital Partners.