The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has approved a US$400mn revolving credit facility for the Export Trading Group (ETG), to support agri-food supply chains in Africa amid disruption caused by Covid-19.

ETG, an African agriculture commodities trader with operations in crop buying, warehousing, distribution and merchandising, will use the facility to fund the sourcing, processing and transportation of soft commodities of African origin, and support procurement of key agricultural inputs, such as fertiliser, seeds and other chemicals, which would be supplied across the continent.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that up to 50% of Africa’s agricultural production is lost every year from farm to market due to problems ranging from sub-optimal use of inputs to improper post-harvest storage, processing and transportation facilities. These challenges have been exacerbated by the virus outbreak, which has disrupted supply chains and heightened price volatility.

“This facility will not only support African farmers through the disruption caused by the pandemic but will provide added impetus to ETG’s vital work connecting the continent’s small and medium businesses to the agricultural networks and avenues critical for growth,” says Kanayo Awani, managing director of Afreximbank’s intra-African trade initiative. “With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) on the horizon, the timing is opportune to shape a more productive and resilient agricultural sector – delivering both prosperity and food security for the continent’s future.”

This is not the first time that ETG has benefited from Afreximbank’s intra-African trade initiative. In 2018, its subsidiary, Export Trading Company, signed a similar US$300mn revolver, to help African farmers access new regional and international markets.