South African agri-cooperative The Co-op may get $20 mn debt finance

 South African agri-cooperative The Co-op may get $20 mn debt finance

Die Humansdorpse Landbou Koöperasie Beperk, which operates as The Co-op, is in talks to raise debt capital from a European development finance institution.

Dutch development bank FMO is evaluating a proposal to lend as much as $20 million to Die Koop Finansiering, a subsidiary of The Co-op that was set up to attract funding for its long-term financing activities.

The Co-op will use the funding to extend long-term loans to its members and agricultural development projects that aim to empower disadvantaged black community members and turn them into commercial farmers.

The Co-op is headquartered in Humansdorp, 90 km from Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. It operates in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo provinces, and provides products and services to all farming disciplines but especially those catering to citrus and dairy as key sectors.

It was established in 1944 and was originally created as a milling company to support local grain farmers, but has changed its name as The Co-op since 2013 when its trademark was registered.

It has a staff of more than 1,000 permanent employees and is owned by its almost 1,800 farmer members.

The Co-op provides inputs, financing, and post-harvesting services to its farmer members. It owns a network of 34 trading branches, runs business units specialized in irrigation, alternative energy and netting, and operates the third-largest feed mill in the Eastern Cape.

Vivek Sinha

The Capital Quest