Rabobank and Banco FIE join forces to foster rural development in Bolivia

Rabobank, through its subsidiary Rabo Partnerships, and Banco FIE started a 3-year strategic cooperation focused on fostering rural development, strengthening Banco FIE’s operations and outreach, and professionalizing the agricultural value chains in Bolivia.

Rabobank, through its subsidiary Rabo Partnerships supports Banco FIE by providing access to its (agricultural) banking knowledge, experience and networks. Rabo Partnerships has a track record in contributing to the development of well-functioning and inclusive financial systems in emerging markets through a long-term perspective. This is accomplished by building strong locally rooted financial service providers serving (M)SMEs, the rural sector and clients who have not previously had access to financial services.

The global food and agriculture sector faces a huge challenge: how to provide a growing, aging and on average, wealthier world population with sufficient, healthy and sustainably produced food. “Rabobank’s commitment to invest and build strong financial service providers in emerging economies is in line with its Banking for Food strategy, which is aimed at providing access to its knowledge, finance and networks”, says Mr. Frank Nagel, managing director of Rabo Partnerships.

The agricultural potential in emerging countries is significant. The Latin American region is an important net exporter of food and agricultural commodities, accounting for 16% of the total global food and agriculture exports and 4% of the total food and agriculture imports. “The region is one of the few parts of the world with significant resources of unexploited agricultural land, suggesting the region will continue to play a pivotal role in future global food production . To help unlock that potential, Rabobank aspires to provide support to financial institutions and other players in agricultural value chains worldwide to enable them to increase the production, efficiency and to become more sustainable”, according to Mr. Nagel.

The Bolivian economy is mainly based on the exploitation and export of its natural resources. Since a few years the agricultural sector has had a strong impact on the economic growth of the country. This is mainly due to technological innovations and an optimized production of soy beans, corn, sugar, rice, quinoa and chestnut. In particular quinoa and chestnut showed an increase in export due to the high quality.

In line with Bolivia’s development agenda, Banco FIE has the objective to contribute to the improvement of the economic conditions in rural zones, by promoting food security and sovereignty for the Bolivian people. The bank has introduced agricultural credit technology to support the Bolivian agricultural industry. It has also designed strategies for agricultural sub-sectors and tools for credit evaluation. Both are adjusted to the productive cycles and particular needs of the Bolivian producers. In this regard the bank focuses on reaching the smallest entities of the productive value chain, with an average credit in the sector of 6.128 USD dollars. “One of the purposes of our cooperation with Rabobank is to improve financial inclusion and food security while at the same time strengthening our organization to support these improvements sustainably”, according to Mr. Adrés Urquidi, general manager of Banco FIE.

Rabobank’s roots are in Dutch agriculture, a sector that today has an excellent reputation worldwide. The Netherlands is considered to be one of the most productive and efficient food producers in the world, often taking the lead in innovation. Despite its small size, the country is among the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products and a leader in food quality. Rabobank has played an important role in the development of Dutch agriculture and horticulture and has been leveraging its experience and expertise for international food and agri chains for decades.

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