Singapore-based commodity merchant Agrocorp has received a US$50M loan from Rabobank and Dutch development bank FMO to enhance food supply chains in developing markets, the companies announced on 2 June.

With the COVID-19 pandemic challenging food supply chains globally, especially in developing markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the role of commodity merchants had taken on a new importance to ensure a continuous flow of food from farmers to consumers.

“This is particularly vital in developing markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa where lockdown measures have led to reduced food production and rising prices,” the companies said.

Agrocorp is a global supply chain company, with operations in over 20 countries, specialising in a variety of agricultural commodities including pulses, oilseeds and sugar. In 2019, the company moved more than 12M tonnes of goods between cultivation centres such as Australia, Canada, Myanmar, Ukraine, the USA and West Africa, primarily into population rich consumption centres in Asia and the Middle East.

The company had recently increased its efforts to use blockchain solutions that digitised trade documents to ensure intercontinental agricultural trade could still operate during the pandemic.

The loan by FMO and international financial services provider Rabobank is Agrocorp’s first borrowing base facility and the company will also be working with FMO to establish farmer training programmes in markets such as Myanmar, where it has a strong presence.

“Agrocorp is a natural partner for FMO due to its strong and growing presence in fast developing economies like India, Myanmar, Turkey and Bangladesh. Sustainability is also a priority for the company given its market leadership positions in pulses and plant proteins, the consumption of both of which is seen as an important gateway towards a more environmentally friendly food system.” Linda Broekhuizen, FMO’s chief investment officer said.