Impact investor Incofin IM, through the Technical Assistance Facility of the Fairtrade Access Fund, grants EUR 200,000 to the Fairtrade International funds that were created to meet both the immediate and the medium to long term needs of farming communities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This donation will support Fairtrade certified producers in Africa and Latin America and facilitate investments in sustainable agriculture.

COVID-19 is heavily impacting the lives of smallholder farmers and farm workers, who are at high risk of illness, loss of employment and income due to the crisis. Supporting the producers affected by this emergency is key to protecting their safety, livelihoods and global food security. Investing in long-term solutions that will strengthen the resilience of farming communities, while also protecting the environment is the forward-looking way to lasting impact.

Realizing this vision requires strong partnerships. Incofin is joining forces with Fairtrade International, which launched the Fairtrade Producer Relief Fund and the Fairtrade Producer Resilience Fund in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Relief Fund intends to meet the immediate needs of farmers, workers and their communities, while the Resilience Fund aims to support economic recovery by addressing the medium to long term needs of Fairtrade certified producers as they look at business continuity in a COVID-19 world. The initial investment of EUR 3.6 million between the two funds, contributed by Fairtrade International and its member organizations, is expected to mobilize additional pledges from other donors.

COVID-19 safety protocols at the collection center of the Peruvian cocoa cooperative ACOPAGRO

Fairtrade International is a founding sponsor and shareholder of the Fairtrade Access Fund (“FAF”), an impact fund advised by Incofin, which invests in Fairtrade and sustainably certified organizations (producer organizations, agricultural value chain SMEs and MFIs). FAF aims to address the financing and technical assistance needs of smallholder farmers, thus contributing to the improvement of their wellbeing and communities while promoting a sustainable food system for the world. FAF partners with around 30 Fairtrade certified producer organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The majority of these organizations are active in the coffee and cocoa values chains, which are among the top Fairtrade commodities.

In order to scale the provision of relief and economic recovery support to a larger number of institutions within the Fairtrade network, Incofin is providing EUR 200,000 to the aforementioned Fairtrade COVID-19 Producer Funds. This donation comes from the Technical Assistance Facility of the Fairtrade Access Fund (“TAF”), which is funded by KFW, FMO and BIO. The contribution will enable the provision of grants to the Fairtrade certified producer organisations, which are FAF clients in Africa and Latin America to support their producers. Part of this support will target longer-term interventions, such as business restoration and diversification, transitioning to organic production practices and climate change resilience, establishing food security and supporting other activities that will generate added value for the farmers. The donation will be managed by the Fairtrade Producer Networks – CLAC (La Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Pequeños Productores y Trabajadores de Comercio Justo) in Latin America and Fairtrade Africa.

The Fairtrade COVID-19 Producer Funds present a unique opportunity to efficiently address the challenges brought about by the global pandemic. This partnership is also a reflection of the strong commitments from Fairtrade International and Incofin to maximize impact within the farming communities and to facilitate investments in sustainable agriculture.

Darío Soto Abril, CEO of Fairtrade International says, “Fairtrade farmers and agricultural workers have been pillars in their communities, using their own funds to support health efforts and to provide food to those in need. These producers are creative and resilient, and Incofin’s commitment to the Fairtrade COVID-19 Producer Funds will enable them to take bold steps to meet the challenges of this time, and evolve toward more sustainable livelihoods.”

Viktoria Popova, Incofin’s Technical Assistance Manager shares, “At Incofin, we continuously explore possibilities of providing relevant support to our clients. Technical Assistance is an important instrument of addressing the challenges our portfolio companies face. COVID-19 has a tremendous impact on businesses and communities we work with. Partnering with Fairtrade International is very important as we aim to create lasting change among the farming communities and transform the global food system. I am extremely thankful to our donors for their support of this forward-looking initiative.”

– Viktoria Popova, TA Manager at Incofin


About the Technical Assistance Facility of the Fairtrade Access Fund (“TAF”)

The Technical Assistance Facility of the Fairtrade Access Fund (“TAF”) is established to support the FAF Fund in achieving its objectives through the provision of technical assistance services to FAF investees aimed to develop their capacities in addressing the challenges faced by smallholder farmers. With USD 3.9 million of committed donor funding, including the contributions from KFW, FMO and BIO, the TAF has supported 22 projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

About Fairtrade International

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries. Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organizations empower producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers and advocate for a fair and sustainable future. Find out more at www.fairtrade.net.

A new technical assistance partnership with Congolese coffee cooperative SOPACDI will be launched under the Technical Assistance Facility of FAF (TAF). The project aims to improve further the quality and quantity of the coffee produced and exported by farmers in the Kivu region.

Incofin is launching a new technical assistance project with SOPACDI, co-financed by the Technical Assistance Facility of the Fairtrade Access Fund (TAF). SOPACDI (Solidarité pour la Promotion des Actions Café et le Développement Intégral) is a coffee processing and exporting cooperative located in North Kivu and South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Founded in 2006, the institution is recognized as the first and longest standing Fairtrade-certified cooperative in the country. Its outreach is quite significant as it gathers 11,733 producers, all of whom are Fairtrade and Organic certified.

SOPACDI’s vision is to improve the quality of life of their members and the overall community through the production of quality coffee, supporting “coffee farmers in full employment, united and prosperous”. In order to do so, the cooperative provides its member base technical assistance, gender sensibilization training, certification support and access to international markets, achieving high quality differentials in addition to establishing minimum prices and sustainable premiums.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo is a priority country for Incofin, in which we manage significant investments. We see the economic potential of the country, certainly in agriculture which represents almost 70% of the country’s economy. The country has suffered from decades of political violence, corruption and mismanagement. We are keen to support SOPACDI, as it provides perspective to small coffee growers in the Kivu region. SOPACDI is one of the enterprises that can turn the tide for Congolese smallholder farmers.”- Loïc De Cannière, Founder and Managing Partner Incofin IM.

 

More coffee with an even better quality

“We, as leaders of SOPACDI, wish to establish a solid and lasting relationship with Incofin, a relationship based on concrete actions that will enable our members, small coffee producers in Kivu, a region long battered by violence of all kinds from the torment of unjust wars, to change their living conditions through the progressive increase of their agricultural incomes. We expect this technical assistance as a first step in this process to be a contribution with a palpable impact on the march towards this great vision.” – Joachim Munganga, President of SOPACDI.

 

The Technical Assistance (TA) project with Incofin aims to support SOPACDI’s mission. The project offers an opportunity for the cooperative to further increase the productivity as well as the quality of the coffee. The plan is to build 42 demonstration farms and to organize trainings for coffee producers on topics such as soil management, compost production and other good agricultural practices required for Fairtrade and Organic certifications.

Furthermore, the TA project will strengthen SOPACDI’s leadership and governance. Capacity building sessions on various subjects including marketing, finance, women leadership and governance practices will be provided to SOPACDI leadership, staff and members. This TA intervention is expected to result in improving the productivity and the quality of skill of the farmers, more effective decision-making of leadership and staff as well as increasing the loyalty of SOPACDI members and awareness around the topic of women empowerment.

 

About TAF

The Technical Assistance Facility of the Fairtrade Access Fund (TAF) is established to support the FAF fund in achieving its objectives through the provision of technical assistance services to FAF investees aimed to develop their capacities in addressing the challenges faced by smallholder farmers. With USD 3.9 million of committed donor funding, including the contributions from KfW, FMO and BIO, the TAF has supported 20 projects in 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Incofin successfully finalizes the RIF II Technical Assistance (TA) Facility, promoting innovation in financial inclusion for 7.4 million entrepreneurs world wide. The TA Facility financed over 8 years capacity building projects to promote innovation in rural microfinance and more financial inclusion of traditionally underserved communities.

The USD 5 million Facility had broad-ranging impacts, both geographically and in terms of thematic areas. The Facility financed 54 projects in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe on a diverse array of topics ranging from new product development and digital delivery channels to risk and social performance management. In Bolivia for example, Incofin supported Sembrar Sartawi to develop a customized mobile app that streamlines client data collection, allowing the company to reach remote rural communities more efficiently.

Under the Facility, projects were designed to help partner institutions address and overcome challenges typically associated with financing the rural and agricultural sectors, such as high operating costs that can limit scalability. Additionally, the Facility organized 3 knowledge-sharing events that brought together financial inclusion players from around the globe to exchange best practices in agricultural lending, risk management and insurance.

In an intense collaboration between a host of international donors, each committed to promoting rural financial inclusion, the Facility was supported by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Luxembourg Government, Nordic Microfinance Initiative (NMI) and the RIFII Fund.

Karel Jansen, Chair of the RIF II Technical Assistance Committee: “At its launch, the RIF II TA Facility was unique to the microfinance industry and, over 8 years, financed a great variety of projects in many countries east to west. The Facility’s excellent results demonstrate TA’s capacity to generate concrete impact for partner institutions and their end-clients.”

 

Full press release:

Press Release TA RIFII

Incofin announces the launch of a multi-year partnership with French association CERISE and Asia focused, responsible development research, ratings and analytics firm M-CRIL that will support investees of Incofin’s agRIF Fund to rigorously track their impact among target clientele by collecting key information and using pragmatic “impact dashboards.”

A pioneer in social performance management, CERISE brings an impressive depth of experience in developing innovative tools and support to help mission-driven organizations in realizing their social goals. M-CRIL complements this expertise with years of practical experience in implementing outcomes measurement systems with financial institutions globally. The consortium will draw on an international network of experts to provide on-the-ground guidance adapted to the local context.

The partnership stems from a major Technical Assistance (TA) project, financed through the agRIF Technical Assistance Facility (agTAF). Though this is not the first collaboration between Incofin and CERISE, this time the organizations take their partnership one step further in providing in-depth coaching on outcomes measurement to individual organizations. The TA project will support a group of 8 equity investees around the world, each with diverse business models – from more traditional microfinance institutions, to a motorbike leasing company, a fintech P2P lending platform and a banking correspondent institution. The project aims to develop an impact measurement methodology flexible enough to respond to the unique nature and objectives of each institution, while furthering industry-wide efforts to make social performance management more standardized and practical.

Each participating institution will receive tailored TA and coaching at all levels of the organization – from branch staff up to Board and Management – to define a “theory of change” based on their unique social mission, identify priority social indicators mapped to the most relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), establish a rigorous yet practical data collection system, and feed this data into strategic decision-making processes to better adapt the company’s products and services to their end-clients’ needs.

  “We spent 20 years building standards of Social Performance Management, with the Social Performance Task Force, we now need to add the missing piece of the puzzle: impact through outcome, with a pragmatic approach, building on digitalization, the SDG common framework, and the willingness of the sector to take data-driven decisions in favor of their clients. It is an innovative and logical next step!” – Cécile Lapenu, CERISE executive Director

“We look forward to building on and taking forward our work so far in social performance and outcomes management.  Partnering with a committed social impact investor, this will be a pioneering contribution for practical social outcomes reporting systems, data management and use, working with both traditional and new-age Inclusive finance providers.” – Frances Sinha, Director M-CRIL

 

Through its Rural Finance Partnership technical assistance program, Incofin Investment Management (Incofin) is supporting two local microfinance institutions (MFIs) – Fundenuse and Micrédito – to implement the first ever meso-model agricultural index insurance product in Nicaragua.

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  • Incofin Investment Management (Incofin IM) is pleased to announce the launch of the EUR 2 million Technical Assistance Facility (the agTAF) to foster agricultural and rural lending in developing countries
  • The new Facility will provide advice to the investees of the agRIF Fund to better serve smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs

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