The Fairtrade Access Fund

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An Integrated Solution for Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder farmers in developing countries have tremendous potential but generally struggle to break the cycle of agrarian poverty. They face high volatility in the agricultural sector, a disproportionate percentage of value accruing to aggregators and exporters, and inability to access appropriate financing for long-term investment in their farms. Where financing is available, it is typically limited to short-term, low risk export finance.

Grameen Foundation helped launch the Fairtrade Access Fund in late 2012 to meet this unmet demand for long-term financing by smallholder farmers in developing countries. The Fund lends to well-run, Fairtrade-certified (or certification-pending) producer organizations for the purpose of investing in processing facilities. The Fund also supports on-lending to cooperatives’ farmer members to invest in crop renewal, farm improvements, new equipment and working capital. 

Additionally, the Fund offers technical assistance to provide agricultural cooperatives and their farmer members with the tools and information they need to improve productivity, decrease risks, build organizational capacity, facilitate certification, and promote access to extension services and valuable information via mobile phones. The technical assistance will further include social performance management support via the Progress out of Poverty Index® tool to track the poverty levels of farmer members 

The Fund concept was originated by Grameen Foundation and Fairtrade International, and we engaged Incofin Investment Management to serve as the fund advisor. As Fund sponsors, all three organizations are involved at the Board and Investment Committee governance levels. To learn more about investing, please contact info [at] fairtradeaccessfund.com.

© 2014 Grameen Foundation

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