Belgium’s Incofin launches $200M fund for financing small farmers

New Delhi: Incofin Investment Management, a Belgium-based manager of microfinance investment funds, is looking to raise $200 million for its new agRIF fund that will focus on agricultural financing, a statement said. The fund is focused on developing countries across the world.

“The objective of agRIF is to invest into sustainable, commercially viable institutions which are providing financial services to smallholder farmers,” Loc De Cannière, Managing Director of Incofin IM, said in the statement.

The fund will issue both shares and senior notes and Incofin IM is expecting to hold a first closing in October-December quarter in 2014.

Incofin has been an investor in India with investments in around half a dozen MFIs. Over the last five years it has invested in Hope MicroCredit Finance India Pvt Ltd, Fusion Microfinance Pvt Ltd, Grameen Financial Services Pvt Ltd, Asomi Finance Pvt Ltd and Arman Financial Services Ltd.

In July last year, the investment firm Incofin Investment Management also invested Rs 13 crore in Orissa-based Annapurna Microfinance Pvt Ltd (AMPL) via its Rural Impulse Fund II – the successor of RIF I which was a Luxembourg-based investment fund for rural micro-financing.

agRIF fund will focus to widen the range of financial services provided to smallholder farmers across the globe. The fund will make equity and debt investments in institutions like MFIs, banks and cooperatives that provide finance to smallholder farmers, the statement said.

According to the studies, around 450-600 million smallholder farmers across the globe are aggressively becoming important in the agriculture value chain, it added.

A recent Dalberg study shows that demand for smallholder finance globally is estimated at $450 billion and only 2% of this demand is met, currently.

 “The Technical Assistance Facility will allow us to support institutions in developing the right products and processes for reaching out to the smallholders,” Loc De Cannière, Managing Director Incofin IM, said in the statement.

Incofin Investment Management develops and manages funds investing in microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries. As of June 2011, Incofin manages six facilities with total outstanding investments of $425 million in approximately 39 countries.

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