Launched in 2015, the agRIF fund seeks to address the scarcity of financial services adapted to the needs of smallholder farmers, an economic segment representing the largest portion of those living on less than $2 per day. It does this by investing equity in financial intermediaries that target the agricultural sector. Initial investors in the fund include the European Investment Bank (EIB), Proparco, the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM), the Belgische Investeringsmaatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (BIO), Volksvermogen, ACV-CSC Metea, and Incofin Investment Management.
“The development of the agri-food sector in developing countries is an important investment theme for MRBB”
agRIF is a third generation fund, following on Rural Impulse Fund I and Rural Impulse Fund II, which also used closed-ended, leveraged private equity structures to support investments in financial inclusion for the rural sector. agRIF takes this model one step further by specifically targeting the agricultural sector and smallholder farmers, as well as rural micro-entrepreneurs. In addition to the equity investments targeted by the fund, agRIF provides debt investments in agricultural SMEs and agricultural focused financial intermediaries.
Since the first close, new investors such as AXA Investment Managers, KBC Pensioenfonds, Korys, Invest in Visions Global Social Impact Fund, and Maatschappij voor Roerend Bezit van de Boerenbond have committed 27 M USD in equity to support the mission and vision of the Fund.
To date, agRIF has invested 34 M USD in agricultural and rural focused institutions in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The final close of the fund will be in June 2017.
“At Incofin IM, we very much welcome the entry of new first class investors in the Fund, as they enable the fund to enhance its outreach and achieve its highly relevant goals. The new investors decided to subscribe to agRIF because they value our entrepreneurial approach and our strong track record in private equity. Incofin has always been excellent in identifying promising entrepreneurs and in growing their impact business”, says Loïc De Cannière, CEO of Incofin Investment Management.
“The development of the agri-food sector in developing countries is an important investment theme for MRBB,” says Marc Wittemans, CEO of Maatschappij voor Roerend Bezit van de Boerenbond. “MRBB has already invested in Impulse Micro Finance Investment Fund, Rural Impulse Fund, Incofin cvso and recently in AgriF. MRBB is convinced of the competence and integrity of Incofin Investment Management to manage such funds and to achieve a sustainable social and financial return.”