Rabobank Internationale increased focus on the
Food and Agribusiness (F&A) sector may present
sorme major challenges in the short term, but this
is far outweighed by the opportunities created
by combining the enormous amount of in-house
F&A expertise and market knowledge across
the bank. One example is the enormous poten-
tial created for Rl clients through the combined
strength of Rabobank Foundation, Rabo Devel-
opment and Rl.
With sustainability fast becoming an essential part of supply chain
management, an increasing number of Rabobank International's F&A
clients fïnd themselves confronted with the need to take into account
complex environmental and social practices. This in turn is creating a
growing demand for clear insight into the value chain, especially at
the level of the millions of small farmers and farmer organisations that
produce the bulk of the commodities essential to their business.
"It's often a big challenge for our clients to work with the beginning
of their supply chain, the small farmers and local cooperatives,"
says Anke van Kempen, Corporate Social Responsibility Advisor at
Rabobank International. "As it is not their core business, they often
seek expertise and networks with the farmers and local cooperatives.
That's where Rabobank Foundation (RF) can add enormous value,
with its decades of experience in this field. RF can help RI's clients to
improve the sustainability, transparency and control of their value
chain and improve the quantity and quality of the products essential
to the continuity of their business."
A key element of this equation is RF's cooperation with Rabo
Development's (RD) network of local banks. RF works with local
farmers and smallholders to improve the organisation of their
cooperative and set up a viable business model. "So the Foundation
supports the farmers and their cooperatives at the grass roots level,
but in the long run these cooperatives will stili need a bank for
their financing, certainly as their production and income increases.
RD's local banks are the ideal candidates for this support, given
their local knowledge and branch network. In an ideal situation, RI's
clients themselves would also share their technical, agronomic and
marketing expertise with the local farmers," says Albert Boogaard,
Programme Manager for Rabobank Foundation in Africa.