19 november 2005
Small coffee farmers get more access to credits
The Sustainable Agriculture Guarantee Fund was launched this week by the Rabobank, the Dutch NGO Solidaridad and the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation. Both the bank and the Ministry have put up one million euro for the fund, but they are already stimulating new partners, such as local banks, Dutch commercial banks and NGOs, to increase the amount to twenty million euro over the next three years. This will broaden the possibilities for local banks to provide credits for farmers cooperatives, which produce and export certified products like coffee. Some one hundred thousand families will be able to gave a better income.
The Rabobank has thirty years of experience in micro credits for entrepreneurs in developing country, and is also involved in setting up rural banks in these countries to provide a better access to financial services. Marco de Bruine, Rabobank spokesman: "This new fund fills the gap between our two activities of supporting small producers and supporting the financial system. For us it is a new field."
Asked why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attributes development aid to the fund, spokesman Edu Willemse explained: "Government involvement in such a public-private partnership can persuade companies to venture into a high risk activity. Our communication with governments of recipient countries offers a kind of safety net that is attractive to companies."
Solidaridad has become well known through its innovative initiatives of quality marks, such as Max Havelaar and Utz Kapeh coffee, guaranteeing a fair price for the producers. The NGO attributes to the new fund with expertise and training.
P+ Webtip: Rabobankgroep