By Chioma Iruke
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $150 millions to support ETC Group Ltd’s Trade and Agriculture Value-Chain Development in Africa.
Amba Mpoke-Bigg, Head, AfDB Communication and External Relations Department, made the disclosure in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
Mr Mpoke-Bigg said the AfDB’s Board of Directors approved the funds to address the company’s working capital requirements and support its food production expansion plans across 10 countries in Africa.
According to him, this will be a boost for smallholder farmers.
He said the investment would be a trade and agri-finance package, comprising $75 million 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 75 million dollars agriculture value-chain programme to increase agriculture production and productivity, by providing improved agricultural inputs and agronomic advisory services to local farmers,” he said.
Mr Mpoke-Bigg said the ETC was a pan-African agriculture conglomerate with footprint expanding across Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, trading millions of tons in soft commodities.
He noted that the ultimate beneficiaries of this intervention would include smallholder farmers, a significant number being women and youth entrepreneurs across 10 African countries, whose productivity was expected to increase from the deployment of high-quality agricultural inputs.
On loan, Beth Dunford, AfDB Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development said that working with an African agro-champion like ETC was critical toward achieving the bank’s developmental goal.
Ms Dunford said the goal was to support millions of smallholder farmers across the continent to contribute to increased agriculture production and food security in the process.
Also, Solomon Quaynor, Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, said the Bank’s investment into ETC Group would go a long way in contributing to food import substitution.
Mr Quaynor said this would be done by allowing ETC to process and package agricultural products locally while increasing the value-addition of export-oriented products.