Bamboo Capital Partners, the specialist impact investor in emerging and frontier markets reports that in December 2022 it invested over USD$510k in Green Mountain Arabica Coffee (GMAC) Limited through its BUILD fund and together with the Rabo Foundation.
The BUILD Fund, an impact fund upon which Bamboo partners with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), is an innovative blended impact finance vehicle designed to support business opportunities that contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in lower-income countries primarily in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
GMAC was established in 2012, as a producer and exporter of green coffee, that is unroasted coffee beans. In Rwanda, 85 per cent of the country is rural and more than 49 per cent of people in rural areas live in poverty. Investment in such areas is crucial and GMAC is a vehicle for positive impactful investment.
It currently has 1,200 smallholder farmers in its network (around 30 per cent or c360 are female and around 70 per cent or c840 are male in this network), providing them with a stable source of income and further contributing to improving their production – both in terms of quality and quantity without degrading soils and water supplies. The BUILD Fund investment will allow GMAC to expand and improve its products and services and lift more people out of poverty through direct and indirect creation of jobs for both women and young people.
In 2020, UNCDF collaborated with UN Women to implement a business clinic programme which aimed at reviving and sustaining women led companies affected by the Covid-19 pandemic through entrepreneurship skills training. The collaboration further facilitated the selection of GMAC, a women owned company, as the beneficiary of the BUILD Fund. In 2022 the partnership to support GMAC was further expanded with the addition of the Rabo Foundation as co-financier. As a long-standing player in the Rwandan agri space, Rabo Foundation encourages the partnership with BUILD Fund to further reinforce the coffee value chain through supporting GMAC in their growth journey.
GMAC is committed to making a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers with which it works. GMAC has also acquired a Rainforest Alliance UTZ certification and will soon seek other certifications such as Fairtrade.
The company has been successful in securing contracts with major international buyers such as Olam Group (Signapore), Make & Grow (Thailand), Ataka (Japan) and Sasini Plc (Kenya). A significant issue for smallholder farmers is reliable payments for produce supplied. GMAC is a reliable and stable payer. This increases the sources of income within poor communities and provides a platform for growth.
Out of the 1,200 producers in GMAC’s coffee supply network, 635 are UTZ certified. The UTZ certification stands for more sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and the planet. It also ensures that coffee producers take measures to (re)use water efficiently, reducing coffee producers’ vulnerability to climate change.
In addition, GMAC encourages its suppliers to use cultivation techniques that improve coffee production without causing soil degradation and that prevent soil erosion, with the goal to enhance biodiversity and environmental conservation. Similarly, GMAC is implementing a reforestation program with a few its coffee farmers in areas where there is no natural vegetation left.
This article was originally published by UNCDF