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Oikocredit to Further Increase Agricultural Investments

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Oikocredit to Further IncreaseOikocredit to Further Increase Agricultural Investments PR Newswire AMERSFOORT, the Netherlands, November 26, 2013 Social investor and worldwide cooperative, Oikocredit, will increase investments in the agricultural sector in the next

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Oikocredit to Further Increase Agricultural Investments

PR Newswire

Social investor and worldwide cooperative, Oikocredit, will increase investments in the agricultural sector in the next three years as part of its agriculture strategy.

The strategic investment focus was developed several years ago as Oikocredit saw that economic growth originating in agriculture had a greater impact in raising the income and quality of life of the working poor.

Since the development of the strategy, Oikocredit has increased its agricultural portfolio share from 9% (€ 34.7 million) in 2009 to 12% (€ 63.6 million) in 2012.

Oikocredit has set a target to approve € 27 million in new loans to agricultural partners in 2014, with the aim to increase the portfolio share to 15% by 2016.

To support further growth in coming years, Oikocredit has strengthened its investment team by developing a dedicated agriculture unit which will be headed by Mr Frank Rubio, regional director of South America Northern Region, based in Lima, Peru.

Mr Rubio has worked with Oikocredit since 2006 and is currently responsible for operations in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Mr Rubio has a background in microfinance and agricultural development and will work closely with Oikocredit regional office staff to support the quality of growth and impact of the agricultural portfolio.  

Oikocredit director of loans and investments, Mr Florian Grohs, said Mr Rubio's appointment was a key step in increasing funding to the sector.

"Having specialised staff in the regions where we operate means we can draw on their knowledge of local sectors to further support rural producers, processors and various subsectors," said Mr Grohs.

"The new unit will also focus on financing organizations along the agricultural value chain, as this is a way of reaching smallholder farmers through the processor or distributor that buys their products," added Mr Grohs.

The increase in financial investments in the sector will be supported by internal exchange programmes as well as training for existing and potential agricultural partners.

This year, Oikocredit conducted around 30 capacity building initiatives to strengthen agricultural partners, which will be further increased in coming years.

At end October 2013, Oikocredit had 152 agricultural partners across 32 countries.

Oikocredit is one of the world's largest sources of private funding to the microfinance sector, providing credit and equity to small businesses through microfinance institutions across the developing world and directly to trade cooperatives, fair trade organizations and small to medium enterprises.