FOPEPRO: Bridging The Financial Divide To Reach Small Farmers

Jan 2011
Latin American farmers who grow food on small plots of land are the backbone of the rural economy in the region. Getting food from fields to markets creates many jobs, especially in lower income countries, where 30 percent of the population works in smallholder agriculture. Smallholders need better access to finance and training to produce and earn more, but traditional banks rarely operate in rural areas. It is expensive and seen as risky to lend to farmers with little or no credit history, seasonal production and limited collateral.A new private social investment fund, Fondo para los Pequeños Productores Rurales en América Latina (FOPEPRO), is solving the problem by providing credit to small rural producers from the base of the pyramid. FOPEPRO provides working capital and investment loans to groups of farmers, processors and rural microfinance institutions in up to nine Central and South American countries.
The Opportunities for the Majority Initiative (OMJ) has provided FOPEPRO a $2 million loan and leveraged $1.6 million from social investors Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Calvert Foundation and Monarch Community Funds.