Canada, U.S., International Finance Corporation Agree To Contribute $100M For Private-Sector Agricultural Program

“An agreement to contribute $100 million for a private-sector program to increase agricultural output in poor countries was announced by Canada, the U.S. and the [World Bank’s] International Finance Corp [IFC] on Friday,” Reuters reports (Somerville, 10/8).

“U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday that an increase in these investments will help transform small farmers into successful entrepreneurs. Many small farmers are women,” the Associated Press writes (10/9). According to a joint press release, Geithner added, “As President Obama’s new development policy recognizes, private sector led solutions are critical to achieving these goals.”

“Canada has pledged $50 million Canadian dollars, the United States $25 million, and IFC is expected to contribute $25 million, to support the growth of competitive agribusiness sectors in low-income countries, with a special focus on smallholder farmers,” the press release states.

Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Finance noted that even though agriculture makes up a majority of the labor force in many developing countries, it only gets a small portion of total commercial bank lending. “The innovative [G8 $22 billion] Global Agriculture and Food Security Program can help fill this important financing gap and support sustainable private sector development,” he said.

According to the release: “The private sector facility will issue an open call for proposals from private sector firms and financial institutions operating in low-income countries and select financially viable projects that demonstrate the greatest development impact” (9/10).