Rabobank offering financial support for projects in rural areas

Dutch financial co-operative Rabobank is giving grants and loans for projects in rural areas. The financial support is offered through the Rabobank Foundation, established in 1973 to help other co-ops and member-based organisations achieve sustainable economic development.

The foundation focuses on access to finance and supporting small producers in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, India, Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Cambodia, Kenya, Senegal, Mali, Laos, Tanzania, Ecuador, Mexico, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Vietnam, Ghana, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ivory Coast and the Netherlands.

Through these grants and loans the foundation enables farmers abroad to organise themselves and gain access to expertise, funding and markets to sell their products. Agribusinesses benefit from finance, which helps them in purchasing, processing and product sales.

To qualify for funding, organisations must have their main focus on rural areas and should be registered in the country in which the project is implemented. They must also have members involved in the organisations particularly regarding policy and decision-making, sharing or profit, and risk and internal control.

Organisations wishing to apply should also be able to cover their costs without grants and subsidies. If a project is not financially self-sustainable at the start, a set of financial projections, including profit and loss statement and balance sheet, have to indicate financial sustainability within three to five years.

Microfinance institutions qualify for funding but they need to be independent legal entities or organisations that are in the process of separating their microfinance activities from their founding NGO or institution. Rabobank also asks qualifying organisations for reliable and transparent reporting in line with international reporting standards for the type of institution involved.

Healthcare and education projects, feasibility studies, means of transport, real estate and projects with strong government or political involvement are ineligible for funding.

Source: Co-Operative News. Date: 19th January, 2016