ACTIAM Impact Investing Study Trip Cambodia

25 October, 2017

Original Source: Polarsteps

Nick Spencer (WCS) then shared the inspiring story of IBIS Rice. This project provides local communities with an incentive to engage in conservation, by offering farmers a premium price for their rice if they agree to abide conservation agreements that are designed to protect the rare water birds and other species that use the protected areas. The next step for the project is to find new partners that can help in making such solutions scalable. A great step in the right direction on a larger scale is taken by the Sustainable rice platform, working on social and environmental indicators to improve practices and reduce harmful impacts on the environment and on communities over time. 
Ruud Grim, responsible for the Geodata for Agriculture and Water programme of NSO, showed the enormous potential satellite information can have for improving agricultural production, facilitating market access and improving access to financial services. He is working with several (start-up) companies, developing solutions that translate the geodata (which is free of charge) to meaningful information for farmers. This innovative development is becoming a gamechanger for smallholder farmers to further professionalise their business.
During the day we learned that at least US $ 80 billion of investments is needed annually in order to meet the steeply increasing demand for food. Furthermore, the emerging market credit gap for small and medium enterprises is over US $ 1 trillion and growing. A large share of this is linked to agricultural value chains, and as a result, to rural economic growth. Agriculture can help reduce poverty, raise incomes and improve food security for 80% of the world's poor. Scaling up access to credit for SMEs through existing and new, innovative, channels is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This credit gap is an opportunity to move agricultural value chains to more responsible practices, with potential for significant results on poverty alleviation (SDG 1), food security (SDG 2), sustainable production (SDG 12), climate (SDG 13) and biodiversity (SDG 15).
ACTIAM is currently exploring investment opportunities in cooperation with Clarmondial (a.o) with the aim of addressing the financing gap in agricultural value chains in emerging markets. We strongly believe that doing so through a holistic approach, while supporting responsible practices and contributing the Sustainable Development Goals could offer impactful and beneficial solutions. Solutions that can benefit farmers and their families, that can reduce the negative impacts on the environment and on biodiversity and at the same time realize decent returns for investors. Following our deep-dive into the Cambodian rice industry, we are even more excited and inspired to get back to the office next week and put our plans and ideas to action.

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