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CFC aims to continue vital work supporting vulnerable smallholders in 2023

The economic turbulence of 2022 has made the investments we provide at the CFC an even more important lifeline for agribusinesses and the vulnerable smallholders they support.  

Speaking at the 34th meeting of the Governing Council (GC), held in The Hague on 13 and 14 December, CFC Managing Director Amb. Mohammed Belal emphasised the precarious position of many smallholders currently, describing their experience as a “double jeopardy”. 

He pointed out that rising commodity prices rarely benefit smallholders: “Their incomes do not rise with prices due to long and opaque value chains that are dominated by large trading houses and financial investors. Yet the price of their inputs has risen sharply. What smallholders make is simply not enough to meet the increased cost of fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, chemicals and other inputs they must buy. So smallholders lose out twice – that’s the double jeopardy.”   

Amb. Belal went on to reaffirm the CFC’s commitment to supporting smallholders in developing countries to build prosperity and economic independence in the year ahead. 

Also at the meeting, Acting Director of the Division on International Trade and Commodities (DITC) of the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Miho Shirotori, delivered the keynote speech on behalf of Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General of UNCTAD. She highlighted how collaborations between organisations with common goals, such as UNCTAD and the CFC, can drive positive impact by helping agribusinesses access new markets and enhance smallholder livelihoods. 

Our 2022 investments have demonstrated this potential. For example, we invested in Ten Sense Africa (TSA) which is managed by Pamoja Farms. Managing Director of Pamoja, Guillaume Maillard, described to the GC how the Kenyan macadamia nut processor and trader connects smallholders to markets, boosting their incomes and resilience.  

Other investments we’ve made this year that are supporting local development, alongside diversifying our portfolio, include:  

  • Exotic, a female-led macadamia nuts exporter in Kenya.  
  • Coffee Planet a Dubai-based coffee roasting company with a focus on transparent value chains. 
  • Colombian cocoa bean exporter Cafexport, which sources cocoa from local communities.  
  • Enimiro, a Ugandan organic vanilla trader aiming to scale up its traceable sourcing model. 
  • And the Gulu Agricultural Development Company, which is boosting opportunities for organic cotton and sesame farmers in Uganda. 


The GC also elected a new Chairperson at the meeting: H.E. Dr. Eniola Ajayi, CFC Alternate Governor for Nigeria. Representing a commodity-rich country, she has huge experience discussing the topic at an international level. There was also an update on our Commodity Impact Investment Facility (CIIF), 2022 operations and finances, and recent Executive Board (EB) decisions.  

In 2022 our EB approved 13 new investments, worth a total of USD 58,495,000, including a CFC contribution of USD 15.4 million. They will support agribusinesses operating in countries including Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Uganda, and are expected to benefit a combined total of 187,000 smallholders.   

The CFC also became a member of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) – an organisation devoted to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. This membership will connect us with others in the impact investing sector enabling us to collaborate and share best practice more effectively.  

It’s been a challenging year, but we are proud of our achievements and looking forward to doing even more in 2023 to support agribusinesses that improve the lives of smallholder farmers. 

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