Working together for
growth & sustainability

Seeing opportunities
Many farming organizations in developing countries that produce products such as coffee, cocoa, nuts or fish, have difficulty finding commercial investment. They are trapped in the “missing middle” because the organizations have outgrown donations and microfinance and are too small or risky to obtain commercial bank loans. The Rabo Rural Fund aims to close this funding gap and unlock opportunities for agricultural business. Opportunities to make local food production sustainable, and to increase the income of smallholder farmers. As an impact lender we provide access to financing, knowledge, networks and innovative solutions.

Over two billion people worldwide survive on less than $ 2 a day. Three quarters of them live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture as their

primary source of income. Without access to capital and reliable markets for their crops, these smallholder farmers cannot grow their business and gain a higher income. At the same time, population growth in low- and middle-income countries is driving increased demand for food. 

Strengthening producer cooperatives and agricultural organizations is therefore of great importance for the fight against poverty and feeding the growing population.

By investing in the missing-middle

Sustainable progress
for smallholder farmers

By offering access to finance the Rabo Rural Fund enables agricultural businesses to finance the purchase, processing and sale of their products. The Rabo Rural Fund typically provides loans ranging from about $200,000 to $3 million.

Invest for impact
Our investments
around the world

Agricultural business can grow rural prosperity in Africa, Asia and Latin America. By investing in producer cooperatives and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the Rabo Rural Fund contributes to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, as well as enhancing sustainable economic development in a socially responsible manner.

We are active in 15 developing countries and emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America. With our investments we unlock opportunities for agricultural business and smallholder farmers. These examples highlight the impact of our work.

Trade finance

Guarantee

Trade financing gives producers organizations and SMEs access to affordable financing. This allows the organizations to better finance the purchase and processing of their products, which enables them to sell at better prices and under better conditions.

A guarantee enables an organization to obtain a loan elsewhere, often with commercial banks. The Rural Fund shares the credit risk with a local bank, by granting a part of the loan itself or by (partially) acting as a guarantor for the loan of the bank. 


$ 41.9 million

In addition, the Rabo Rural Fund shares relevant market information and networks, enabling the organizations and farmers to learn how to work more sustainably and efficiently. Through our network we can support organizations in the field of (price) risk management, financial management and marketing, amongst others. Furthermore we invest, through our partners and clients, in knowledge transfer to farmers. For instance, they learn new agricultural cultivation techniques and storage methods to improve the productivity and quality.

total lending in 2018


15 countries

active in 15 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America


201,582

smallholder farmers and
 their families reached
in 2018

Blueyou Trading enables fishermen in Vietnam to gain access to international markets for sustainable fish.

Equatorial Nut Processors in Kenya provides access to markets and better prices to smallholder farmers.

The food-processing plant of Villa Andina makes a difference to Peruvian smallholders.

Blueyou Trading was founded to close the gap between supply and demand in the market for sustainable fish. The Rabo Rural Fund has provided trade financing for this broker in sustainable fish.

The sustainable fishery
of Blueyou Trading

The impact on fishermen
The 3,240 fishermen that Blueyou Trading collaborates with in Vietnam are part of a relatively poor demographic. Blueyou Trading has enable these fishermen to gain access to international markets for sustainable fish. The fishermen are certified, and because they work in a demonstrably sustainable way, they were able to receive a bonus over and above the normal price, which increased their income. The fishermen also receive training in the use of better techniques and methods for decreasing waste.

Sustainable food production
Blueyou is very attentive to the preservation of the mangrove forests where Selva Shrimp are caught. In the past, the fishermen cut down the mangrove forests. Now the local population recognises their economic value and protects them. Together with the Rural Fund, Blueyou Trading wants to scale up this model in order to expand the supply of sustainable fish. In so doing, Rabo Rural Fund contributes to the exploration of new techniques in sustainable food production.


Originally named Blueyou Consulting, the Swiss firm discovered that there was a high demand for sustainable fish, and that enough fish were being caught in a 

sustainable manner. However, because the fish was not traceable or certified, it could not be sold as such to market parties from the US or Europe. As a result, Blueyou started a trading company dealing in certified, sustainably fished Selva Shrimp from Vietnam. Soon the company began searching for capital to expand their operations. As a Swiss company, they could not apply for local financing in Vietnam, and Swiss banks considered the financing of such a small, innovative company too risky.

Rural Fund lays the foundation
The mission of Blueyou Trading appealed to the Rabo Rural Fund, and the company received a trade loan. With this support from Rabo Rural Fund as a firm foundation, Blueyou Trading will continue to grow over the coming years.

Equatorial Nut Processors (ENP) buys up macadamia nuts from 150,000 farmers in Kenya, processes them in its own factory and exports them to Europe, the United States and the Middle East. The company pays the farmers on taking delivery of their harvest. It teaches them how to make their own fertilizer and helps them on the road to organic farming. ENP also gives financial training and extends loans.

Equatorial Nut Processors
in Kenya

Sowing and processing
In the ENP factory the macadamias are dried and fed into huge nut-cracking machines before being sorted at long tables. The sorting is women’s work, because ‘women are able to concentrate for long periods at a time’, says Alex Kieme. There’s a nut roaster for nuts that are sold inside Kenya. The processing plant is located in the country and offers a great deal of employment. Alongside several specialists it offers a great deal of work to untrained staff who learn on the job what they need to do. In the nursery 200,000 seedlings are prepared for life as a macadamia tree. The entire process takes around a year and a half. Subsequently it takes at least another five years before a macadamia tree bears fruit. Reason why macadamias are a relatively exclusive delicacy. Without the support of ENP a farmer would have to wait a very long time before his nuts started to generate any income.

Rural fund and ENP
Alex Kieme is a proud manager and happy with the financing ENP receives from Rabobank through the Rural Fund. Rabo Rural Fund finances ENP’s nut purchasing from the farmers. The total amount in financing amounts to US$ 1.7 mln. This puts ENP in a position to pay farmers a good price immediately. ‘The farmers want to be paid as soon as they deliver their produce. That’s why the trade financing provided by the Rural Fund is so important’, explains the general manager. The financing is subject to the condition that there are export contracts for the nuts. ENP is given an advance equal to 70% of the contract value, while 30% is financed by ENP itself.

Farmers are given seedlings from the nursery, which they pay for after harvest. The women workers at the factory have access to daycare for their children and are given

annual screenings for breast cancer and sanitary products to improve hygiene. ‘We’re like a father and mother to them’, says general manager Alex Kieme.

It sounds almost too good to be true, but Alex Kieme assures us that the nut exporter’s social policies are based entirely on mutual interest, rather than charity. ‘If we take care of our suppliers, they’ll sell their nuts to us, and not to the competition. And if we look after our workers’ health, they’re at their most productive. And if the farmers boost production, then everyone benefits.’ Commercial interests as a motivator for social enterprise – it can’t get any more sustainable than that.

Social enterprise ENP started buying macadamia nuts from Kenyan farmers twenty years ago in a bid to break the monopoly of a small number of players. ENP decided to offer the farmers better prices. Kieme: ‘This social policy reaped dividends: the farmers had a great deal of confidence in ENP and stayed loyal. Currently ENP pays 24 shillings a kilogram. We also process cashew nuts and peanuts, particularly so that we can supply bags of mixed nuts. Kenya Airways is a major customer of our company.’


The province of Cajamarca, high in the Andes Mountains, is home to some of the poorest people in Peru. It’s also home to Villa Andina, a food-processing company that is determined to have a positive social impact on the local community.

Food-processing plant makes
a difference to Peruvian smallholders

A stable income for farmers creates a virtuous circle
It is common for Peruvian smallholders to operate outside the market economy. Some farmers travel to urban or coastal areas to find seasonal work. This requires them to live apart from their families and communities for several months each year. Yet this seasonal income covers little more than basic clothing and food staples such as oil and salt. By contrast, farmers who grow crops for Villa Andina earn a regular weekly income, and guaranteed market access.

Pedro Martinto, who founded Villa Andina with his brother Daniel, has repeatedly seen how a monetary income generates sustained benefits for Andean farmers. “It means they can do things like improve and maintain their homes, invest in their farms, and send their children to university,” he says. “One parent no longer needs to leave home for several months in a year to find work. That in itself creates stronger family ties and a more stable social environment.”

Farms provide employment opportunities for the community
Most of the crops grown for Villa Andina are labor intensive, particularly during the soil preparation and harvest phases. Smallholders therefore often hire local workers, further extending the economic benefits and social impacts of Villa Andina’s operations.
In turn, local stores and service providers benefit from the increased disposable income of the farmers and their employees.
The Rabo Rural Fund supports Villa Andina by providing working capital to purchase crops on time from farmers, to store and process. This is necessary because of the gap created by the long payment cycles imposed by customers , combined with Villa Andina’s decision to pay farmers on a relatively short payment cycle.

Despite sustained economic growth in Peru for more than a decade, more than 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. The majority of them live in 

geographically and socially isolated rural areas such as the Cajamarca province.

Villa Andina processes organically grown fruits and grains sourced from 13,000 smallholder farmers across Peru. Traditionally, those farmers grew a limited number of subsistence crops such as wheat, barley, peas and potatoes. But Villa Andina encouraged them to diversify their production to include several indigenous crops of higher nutritional value already cultivated by the Incas. Products include dried goldenberries, powdered maca, yacon syrup, and cocoa. The largest component of Villa Andina’s product portfolio is quinoa, chia, and amaranth grains.

High altitude, high expectations
Villa Andina’s office and main processing facility are situated in the Andean village of La Huaraclla, at an altitude of 2,800 meters. This location is significant, because the lower atmospheric pressure enables efficient drying of fruit and grains at lower temperatures. That in turn reduces fuel costs and maintains the nutritional integrity of the final product and helps to reduce CO2 emissions.

Crucially, the location also places Villa Andina in close proximity to thousands of local suppliers. Most of the farmers who supply to Villa Andina have limited or no experience growing the required crops. The farmers therefore rely on technical advice and other support to optimize their production. Villa Andina trains farmers on subjects like soil management, organic production, and farm administration. It also monitors and audits farming practices and product quality.

Working together
for growth
& sustainability

Over two billion people worldwide survive on less than $ 2 a day. Three quarters of them live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture as their primary source of 

Nederland / sociaal ondernemen

Agricultural business can grow rural prosperity in Africa, Asia and Latin America. By investing in producer cooperatives and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the Rabo Rural Fund contributes to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, as well as enhancing sustainable economic development in a socially responsible manner.

income. Without access to capital and reliable markets for their crops, these smallholder farmers cannot grown their business and gain a higher income. At the same time, population growth in low- and middle-income countries is driving increased demand for food. 

Strengthening producer cooperatives and agricultural organizations is therefore of great importance for the fight against poverty and feeding the growing population. 

Seeing opportunities
Many farming organizations in developing countries that produce products such as coffee, cocoa, nuts or fish, have difficulty finding commercial investment. They are trapped in the “missing middle” because the organizations have outgrown donations and microfinance and are too small or risky to obtain commercial bank loans. The Rabo Rural Funds aims too close this funding gap and unlock opportunities for agricultural business. Opportunities to make local food production sustainable, and to increase the income of smallholder farmers. As an impact lender we provide access to financing, knowledge, networks and innovative solutions.

Invest for impact

By offering access to financing the Rabo Rural Fund enables agricultural businesses to finance the purchase, processing and sale of their products. The Rabo Rural Funds typically provides loans ranging from about $200,000 to $2 million.


By investing in the missing-middle

Sustainable progress
for smallholder farmers


$ 41.9 million

total lending in 2018


15 countries

active in 15 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America


201,582

smallholder farmers and
 their families reached
in 2018

tin America

Trade finance
Trade financing gives producers organizations and SMEs access to affordable financing. This allows the organizations to better finance the purchase and processing of their products, which enables them to sell at better prices and under better conditions.

Guarantee
A guarantee enables an organization to obtain a loan elsewhere, often with commercial banks. The Rural Fund shares the credit risk with a local bank, by granting a part of the loan itself or by (partially) acting as a guarantor for the loan of the bank. 

In addition, the Rabo Rural Fund shares relevant market information and networks, enabling the organizations and farmers to learn how to work more sustainably and efficiently. Trough our network we can support organizations in the field of (price) risk management, financial management and marketing, amongst others. Furthermore we invest, through our partners and clients, in knowledge transfer to farmers. For instance, they learn new agricultural cultivation techniques and storage methods to improve the productivity and quality.

Our investments
around the world

We are active in 15 developing countries and emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America. With our investments we unlock opportunities for agricultural business and smallholder farmers. These examples highlight the impact of our work.

Blueyou Trading enables fishermen in Vietnam to gain access to international markets for sustainable fish.

Equatorial Nut Processors in Kenya provides access to markets and better prices to smallholder farmers.

The food-processing plant of Villa Andina makes a difference to Peruvian smallholders.

MORE INFORMATION

Contact
Are you interested in working together with the Rabo Rural Fund or seeking for more information? Contact our Fund Manager, Alexander Meyer.

The sustainable 
fishery of
Blueyou Trading

Originally named Blueyou Consulting, the Swiss firm discovered that there was a high demand for sustainable fish, and that enough fish were being caught in a sustainable manner. However,

Blueyou Trading was founded to close the gap between supply and demand in the market for sustainable fish. The Rabo Rural Fund has provided trade financing for this broker in sustainable fish.

because the fish was not traceable or certified, it could not be sold as such to market parties from the US or Europe. As a result, Blueyou started a trading company dealing in certified, sustainably fished Selva Shrimp from Vietnam. Soon the company began searching for capital to expand their operations. As a Swiss company, they could not apply for local financing in Vietnam, and Swiss banks considered the financing of such a small, innovative company too risky.

Rural Fund lays the foundation
The mission of Blueyou Trading appealed to the Rabo Rural Fund, and the company received a trade loan. With this support from Rabo Rural Fund as a firm foundation, Blueyou Trading will continue to grow over the coming years.

The impact on fishermen
The 3,240 fishermen that Blueyou Trading collaborates with in Vietnam are part of a relatively poor demographic. Blueyou Trading has enable these fishermen to gain access to international markets for sustainable fish. The fishermen are certified, and because they work in a demonstrably sustainable way, they were able to receive a bonus over and above the normal price, which increased their income. The fishermen also receive training in the use of better techniques and methods for decreasing waste.

Sustainable food production
Blueyou is very attentive to the preservation of the mangrove forests where Selva Shrimp are caught. In the past, the fishermen cut down the mangrove forests. Now the local population recognises their economic value and protects them. Together with the Rural Fund, Blueyou Trading wants to scale up this model in order to expand the supply of sustainable fish. In so doing, Rabo Rural Fund contributes to the exploration of new techniques in sustainable food production.

Equatorial Nut
Processors
in Kenya

Farmers are given seedlings from the nursery, which they pay for after harvest. The women workers at the factory have access to daycare for their children and are given annual screenings

Equatorial Nut Processors (ENP) buys up macadamia nuts from 150,000 farmers in Kenya, processes them in its own factory and exports them to Europe, the United States and the Middle East. The company pays the farmers on taking delivery of their harvest. It teaches them how to make their own fertilizer and helps them on the road to organic farming. ENP also gives financial training and extends loans.

for breast cancer and sanitary products to improve hygiene. ‘We’re like a father and mother to them’, says general manager Alex Kieme.

It sounds almost too good to be true, but Alex Kieme assures us that the nut exporter’s social policies are based entirely on mutual interest, rather than charity. ‘If we take care of our suppliers, they’ll sell their nuts to us, and not to the competition. And if we look after our workers’ health, they’re at their most productive. And if the farmers boost production, then everyone benefits.’ Commercial interests as a motivator for social enterprise – it can’t get any more sustainable than that.

Social enterprise ENP started buying macadamia nuts from Kenyan farmers twenty years ago in a bid to break the monopoly of a small number of players. ENP decided to offer the farmers better prices. Kieme: ‘This social policy reaped dividends: the farmers had a great deal of confidence in ENP and stayed loyal. Currently ENP pays 24 shillings a kilogram. We also process cashew nuts and peanuts, particularly so that we can supply bags of mixed nuts. Kenya Airways is a major customer of our company.’

Sowing and processing
In the ENP factory the macadamias are dried and fed into huge nut-cracking machines before being sorted at long tables. The sorting is women’s work, because ‘women are able to concentrate for long periods at a time’, says Alex Kieme. There’s a nut roaster for nuts that are sold inside Kenya. The processing plant is located in the country and offers a great deal of employment. Alongside several specialists it offers a great deal of work to untrained staff who learn on the job what they need to do. In the nursery 200,000 seedlings are prepared for life as a macadamia tree. The entire process takes around a year and a half. Subsequently it takes at least another five years before a macadamia tree bears fruit. Reason why macadamias are a relatively exclusive delicacy. Without the support of ENP a farmer would have to wait a very long time before his nuts started to generate any income.

Rural fund and ENP
Alex Kieme is a proud manager and happy with the financing ENP receives from Rabobank through the Rural Fund. Rabo Rural Fund finances ENP’s nut purchasing from the farmers. The total amount in financing amounts to US$ 1.7 mln. This puts ENP in a position to pay farmers a good price immediately. ‘The farmers want to be paid as soon as they deliver their produce. That’s why the trade financing provided by the Rural Fund is so important’, explains the general manager. The financing is subject to the condition that there are export contracts for the nuts. ENP is given an advance equal to 70% of the contract value, while 30% is financed by ENP itself.

Food-processing
plant makes
a difference to
Peruvian smallholders

Despite sustained economic growth in Peru for more than a decade, more than 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. The majority of them live in geographically and socially isolated

The province of Cajamarca, high in the Andes Mountains, is home to some of the poorest people in Peru. It’s also home to Villa Andina, a food-processing company that is determined to have a positive social impact on the local community.

rural areas such as the Cajamarca province.

Villa Andina processes organically grown fruits and grains sourced from 13,000 smallholder farmers across Peru. Traditionally, those farmers grew a limited number of subsistence crops such as wheat, barley, peas and potatoes. But Villa Andina encouraged them to diversify their production to include several indigenous crops of higher nutritional value already cultivated by the Incas. Products include dried goldenberries, powdered maca, yacon syrup, and cocoa. The largest component of Villa Andina’s product portfolio is quinoa, chia, and amaranth grains.

High altitude, high expectations
Villa Andina’s office and main processing facility are situated in the Andean village of La Huaraclla, at an altitude of 2,800 meters. This location is significant, because the lower atmospheric pressure enables efficient drying of fruit and grains at lower temperatures. That in turn reduces fuel costs and maintains the nutritional integrity of the final product and helps to reduce CO2 emissions.

Crucially, the location also places Villa Andina in close proximity to thousands of local suppliers. Most of the farmers who supply to Villa Andina have limited or no experience growing the required crops. The farmers therefore rely on technical advice and other support to optimize their production. Villa Andina trains farmers on subjects like soil management, organic production, and farm administration. It also monitors and audits farming practices and product quality.

A stable income for farmers creates a 
virtuous circle
It is common for Peruvian smallholders to operate outside the market economy. Some farmers travel to urban or coastal areas to find seasonal work. This requires them to live apart from their families and communities for several months each year. Yet this seasonal income covers little more than basic clothing and food staples such as oil and salt. By contrast, farmers who grow crops for Villa Andina earn a regular weekly income, and guaranteed market access.

Pedro Martinto, who founded Villa Andina with his brother Daniel, has repeatedly seen how a monetary income generates sustained benefits for Andean farmers. “It means they can do things like improve and maintain their homes, invest in their farms, and send their children to university,” he says. “One parent no longer needs to leave home for several months in a year to find work. That in itself creates stronger family ties and a more stable social environment.”

Farms provide employment opportunities 
for the community
Most of the crops grown for Villa Andina are labor intensive, particularly during the soil preparation and harvest phases. Smallholders therefore often hire local workers, further extending the economic benefits and social impacts of Villa Andina’s operations.
In turn, local stores and service providers benefit from the increased disposable income of the farmers and their employees.
The Rabo Rural Fund supports Villa Andina by providing working capital to purchase crops on time from farmers, to store and process. This is necessary because of the gap created by the long payment cycles imposed by customers , combined with Villa Andina’s decision to pay farmers on a relatively short payment cycle.