EDFI AgriFI Continues Its Commitment: EUR 3 Million Investment Fuels Alterfin's Sustainable Impact in Global Agriculture
The financing will allow the cooperative to grow its portfolio and to support new clients in the global South with investments.
BRUSSELS, 31 January 2024 – EDFI AgriFI, the EU Agriculture Financing Initiative, managed by EDFI Management Company, reaffirms its dedication to sustainable development by announcing a EUR 3 million loan in Alterfin, a Belgian cooperative supported by more than 6.000 individual members, championing sustainable family farming in developing countries. This investment follows an initial funding from July 2020 when EDFI AgriFI co-invested EUR 6 million in Alterfin, with BIO, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries.
The follow-on investment will reinforce Alterfin’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and allow the cooperative to support with investments further SMEs, producers’ organisations, and rural microfinance institutions. This investment will provide Alterfin with long-term financing to support its expansion in the global South and through which, together with other investments, should reach out to ~1.49 million smallholders by end of 2026 in around 40 countries.
CEO of EDFI Management Company, Rodrigo Madrazo highlighted the impact of AgriFI’s loan:
“After 30 years of operations, Alterfin has proven that credit cooperatives can be a catalyst to support smallholder farming in developing countries. Alterfin is the first international lender for many SMEs and farmers cooperatives. The working capital financing it provides is critical for these organisations to commercialize their products and give market access to farmers”.
Alterfin, with its focus on financing the agricultural value chain and the rural microfinance sector, aims to improve the livelihoods of socially and economically disadvantaged communities in rural areas of low and middle-income countries. Its activities have a strong impact in terms of financial inclusion, access to market and promotion of sustainable agricultural practices.
Jean-Marc Debricon, chief executive officer of Alterfin expressed gratitude for the continued support:
“We are very grateful to AgriFI and EU for their support and very pleased with this continued long-term financing, which helps address the long-term needs of our
partners. Beyond this, it is also a recognition of Alterfin’s role as a Belgian and European-based social lender and its commitment for the last 30 years to foster global sustainable development.”
Alterfin’s dedication to sustainable agriculture is apparent, with 74% of Alterfin partners being Organic and/or Fairtrade Certified. The investment from EDFI AgriFI, a facility funded by the European Union, is anticipated to empower Alterfin in securing long-term financing.
Cristina Vicente Ruiz, AgriFI Programme Manager at the European Commission (DG INTPA), emphasized the EU’s dedication to sustainable development:
“This investment exemplifies the European Union’s commitment to sustainable development. Supporting agri-SMEs through impact funds like Alterfin not only aligns with the European Green Deal’s goals but also amplifies European Commission’s impact in fostering environmental sustainability, enhancing food security, and uplifting rural economies on a global scale.”
About EDFI AgriFI:
EDFI AgriFI is an impact investment facility funded by the European Union, managed by EDFI Management Company on behalf of 15 European Development Finance Institutions (DFI). It aims to unlock, accelerate, and leverage sustainable investments in medium, small, and micro agri-enterprises operating in developing countries, with a specific focus on smallholder inclusiveness.
Alterfin, established in 1994, is a Belgian cooperative supported by more than 6,000 individual members. It raises capital to invest in smallholder farming in developing countries through microfinance institutions (MFIs), small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and producer organizations and cooperatives. Alterfin’s mission is to improve the livelihoods of socially and economically disadvantaged communities in rural areas of low and middle-income countries.