The Netherlands-based Rabobank Foundation has announced a $260,000 loan to the Tsehay farmer union in Gondar, northern Ethiopia. The loan, which 2SCALE helped facilitate, will allow the union to bulk purchase oilseed stocks for its cooking oil plant. Around 3,000 smallholder farmers will benefit from this loan, and the newly established factory will create 45 new jobs.
This initiative is part of a 2SCALE pilot that aims to substantially expand the oilseeds sector in the Amhara region. The pilot, launched in March, involves 20 smallholder cooperatives and two farmer unions (Tsehay and the neighboring Debark union). Components include farmer training, extension support, supply chain linkages, market studies and branding and distribution strategies. At least half the cooking oil produced will be sold to low-income (BoP) consumers.
Support from the Rabobank Foundation will be a powerful catalyst for change – not only because of the size and favorable terms of the loan but also because of the Foundation’s ethos; its primary objective is to help small rural cooperatives to grow. The Foundation is part of the century-old Rabobank Group, which serves 10 million customers in 40 countries. This kind of financial muscle, combined with its emphasis on financial inclusion, makes it an ideal development partner.