~Financing will increase rice production and improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers~
NEW YORK, March 25, 2014 / PRNewswire – As part of an effort to build sustainable businesses in Africa and fight poverty, the Soros Economic Development Fund today announced a US$5 million investment in GADCO, a Ghanaian agriculture company.
SEDF’s commitment to GADCO will help smallholder farmers produce and sell rice on a large, commercial scale. The investment aims to reduce Ghana’s dependence on imported rice and consequent obligation to pay world market prices, by increasing and stabilizing rice production within the country.
“SEDF believes that Ghana has the potential to be an agribusiness leader on the continent,” said Stewart Paperin, president of the Soros Economic Development Fund. “We think this model will succeed and could have far reaching benefits for food security across Africa.”
The GADCO model clusters small producers around a medium-sized farm that boasts processing and transport capacity. The aim is to boost rice production while improving the livelihoods of thousands of subsistence farmers. GADCO’s unique Copa Connect program provides smallholder farmers with commercial equipment, cutting edge farming methods and technologies, and quality seed and fertilizer.
At the end of the growing season, the smallholder farmers are also connected to a ready buyer – GADCO. Some participating farmers have realized two- to three-fold income increases compared to those who farm without GADCO support. It’s a model where interdependency can mean prosperity for all stakeholders.
“SEDF is a valued partner to GADCO,” said Iggy Bassi, co-founder of GADCO. ”We welcome SEDF’s support of our efforts in Ghana and beyond, as we seek to bring the model to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Soros Economic Development Fund
The Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) is a $350 million not for profit investment fund that seeks to build sustainable businesses that can generate economic opportunities and access to affordable and essential products and services for underserved populations. SEDF is part of the Open Society Foundations.