Promoting agricultural know-how for businesses in developing countries

February 20184 min readSustainable Food

Zurich, 6 February 2018 — Food security, the creation of employment and the promotion of CO2-conscious practices: These are the objectives of a new public-private partnership that has been established to give agricultural companies in developing countries access to the expertise they urgently require. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has invested CHF 1 million to fund Technical Assistance to accompany the activities of a responsAbility investment fund for fair agriculture that will establish links to the targeted companies through its network. 

The agricultural sector in developing countries is dominated by small businesses that employ a large proportion of the population but often lack efficiency in the way they work. At the same time, the global population is growing, as is its need for food. This demand creates opportunities – including for smallholder farmers and agricultural companies that work sustainably – provided they can succeed in producing high-quality food efficiently.

To achieve this, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries require access to finance, such as that provided by an agricultural fund managed by responsAbility. As of the end of 2017, the fund had financed a total of 117 companies across 43 countries. In addition to capital, agricultural markets also need to undergo an efficiency revolution driven by research and development. For example, farmers must be trained to use land, water and fertilisers more efficiently. At the same time, processing companies need support in order to fully realize their growth potential.

This is the precise purpose of the Technical Assistance supplied by the responsAbility agricultural fund in which the SDC invested CHF 1 million in December 2017. The funds will be allocated to specifically defined projects by a team of experts. These projects are designed to offer companies advice and technical support that is tailored to their needs.

Simon Zbinden, Co-Head of the Global Programme Food Security at SDC, is convinced of the development impact of this initiative: “If agricultural businesses in developing countries can produce food more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly manner, this will benefit their suppliers, smallholder farmers, employees and their families, as well as service providers and the environment. responsAbility has an impressive portfolio of companies that work sustainably and help improve the  long-term economic prospects in developing countries.”

Simon Gupta, Head of Business Development DFI/IFI at responsAbility, is delighted that the SDC is lending its support to these efforts: “Since 2005, responsAbility funds have invested a total of USD 1.3 billion in agricultural companies. Experience has shown that many companies need access to both finance and knowhow to successfully grow their business. Technical Assistance allows us to provide both – making us a very attracting financing partner and allowing us to generate normal market returns through development-related investments.”

About responsAbility Investments AG ( responsAbility Investments AG is a leading asset manager in the field of development investments that offers professionally managed investment solutions to private, institutional and public investors. The company supplies debt and equity financing to non-listed firms in emerging economies and developing countries. responsAbility currently has USD 3 billion of assets under management invested in over 540 companies in 90 countries.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation ( The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the agency for international cooperation of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The SDC is responsible for the overall coordination with other federal authorities of development and cooperation with Eastern Europe as well as for humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation. It fosters economic self-reliance and state autonomy, contributes to the improvement of production conditions, helps address environmental problems, and ensures better access to education and basic healthcare services.


Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Simon Zbinden, Co-Head of the Global Programme Food Security


Stephanie Bilo
responsAbility Investments
+41 44 403 0553

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