Rabobank creates agricultural fund for Latin America

Dutch bank Rabobank International has launched a sustainable agriculture fund for Latin America.
The Rabo Agri Fund was set up to improve access to local finance for cooperatives or companies buying raw material from small producers in the region’s agricultural sector.

For the first phase (2008-2010) the fund will be worth US$30 million, although it could be expanded.

Rebaza, Alcázar & De Las Casas Abogados Financieros in Peru is acting as legal counsel to Rabobank for the fund’s activities in Latin America. Partner Juan José Cárdenas says the firm is glad to be able to collaborate with Rabobank “in a project that promotes not only access to financial services for producers but also fair trade in the whole region.” He adds that while there are similar funds operating, this is unique in its focus on Latin America rather than a specific country, and will require the participation of law firms in every country in which it operates.

The fund has already started operations in Peru, and to date has closed three transactions with Banco Internacional del Perú (Interbank) to finance three Peruvian coffee and cacao cooperatives, the most recent concluding this month. It is working on other transactions with Interbank and with Banco Interamericano de Finanzas (BIF).

Cárdenas’ team and Rabobank’s in-house counsel have drafted a set of standard legal documentation to be used not only in Peru, but also across Latin America.

Rebaza Alcázar will coordinate with local firms to review and adapt the documentation to local law. The firm has already set up an agreement with Central American firm Arias & Muñoz (Honduras), after having visited Honduras to promote the fund.

The fund aims to achieve sustainable changes in the approach of local banks towards companies active in the agriculture sector by issuing partial credit-guarantees as a risk-mitigating instrument in favour of the local banks.

Counsel to Rabobank International:

- In-house counsel - Tosca Kolkhuis Tanke
- Rebaza, Alcázar & De Las Casas Abogados Financieros
Partner Juan José Cárdenas and associate Kiomi Osorio

Counsel to Interbank:

- In-house counsel- Ivonne Ramos

Counsel to Banco Interamericano de Finanzas:

- In-house counsel- Ekaterini Kidonis

The team from Arias & Muñoz (Honduras) assisting the fund in Honduras includes partner Dennis Matamoros Batson and associate Andrea Matamoros.

(Source: Magazine LatinLawyer)

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