Support to Cooperatives Participating in the Cargill Coop Academy
15 Sep 2015 --- Farmer cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire are set to benefit from access to affordable, commercial finance as a result of a first of its kind initiative supported by Cargill and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The mid-term commercial loans will be provided by the Ivorian bank SIB and are being made available to graduates from the Cargill Coop Academy to enable cooperatives to lease brand new trucks that will allow farmers to more easily transport their cocoa beans to markets.
On the 9th September, 43 cooperatives each took delivery of their own brand new truck – a major step towards becoming more professional - at a local ceremony in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
This project, which is unprecedented in the cocoa sector, is the latest initiative under the Cargill Cocoa Promise and marks a major milestone towards professionalising cooperatives and empowering the farmer organisations to invest in their own futures. So far, 43 cooperatives have applied to participate in the initiative and will result in 78 new trucks being leased in the first year alone.
Logistics can be a big challenge for farmers and their cooperatives - the cost of transporting cocoa beans to market; poor road infrastructure damaging vehicles; maintaining and repairing old trucks and lack of access to any funding to update vehicles is hindering the success and efficiency of some farmer organisations. Investing in better transportation is key for cooperatives to grow and sustain their businesses. However funding options are limited and mostly of a very short term which does not allow for the financing of capital goods.
This initiative is the latest development of the partnership between Cargill and the IFC, which last year successfully extended the Cargill Coop Academy in order to expand access to advanced business skills training to over 300 cooperative leaders in Cote d’Ivoire.
These new commercial mid-term loans are backed by Cargill with a very competitive interest significantly lower than current available loans and can be taken for a three year term – making these loans not only the first of a kind but also one of a kind.
“Up until this point farmers and their cooperatives have not had access to affordable finance in order to grow, improve or sustain their businesses”, said Lionel Soulard, Managing Director West Africa Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “This is a really exciting development as access to finance and to better transportation will make a critical difference to the success of the cooperatives. Successful cooperatives are critical to the future of cocoa farming and cocoa communities.”
“We are delighted by progress made by the cooperatives through the Coop Academy and their efforts to become more professional, efficient and successful,” said Cassandra Colbert IFC Resident Representative. “This was an opportunity for us work with Cargill and SIB and leverage our expertise, and our strong relationships with an Ivorian bank to help make a lasting impact on the cocoa farmers and their communities.”
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