On the 15th of September in 1989 the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) was founded with a mission to tackle commodity dependence in developing countries and support smallholders out of poverty.
Celebrating its anniversary, it is worth looking back at the organisation’s achievements – its financial support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) working with the world’s poorest commodity producers has indeed boosted the livelihoods of thousands of farmers.
Up to 2021, the CFC had approved 448 projects worth USD 937 million, involving 70 commodities in 99 countries. As shown below, these are spread across a range of sectors in some of the poorest nations with a particular focus on the least developed countries (LDCs).
These accomplishments, however, do not preclude the disproportionate impact of pressing global issues such as climate change, health crises, conflicts and gender inequality on smallholder farmers. For this reason, the CFC is seeking to expand its impact, as reflected by the expected positive benefits on the current CFC portfolio and the 11 new investments approved in 2021.
What makes the CFC so unique is the local impact it achieves through international collaboration and knowledge sharing designed to ease the trap of commodity dependence. The CFC believes this has a key role to play in achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Looking ahead, building more partnerships with impact investors is essential for reaching more underserved regions and providing the backing agribusinesses need to thrive. Leveraging this potential, the CFC recently became a member of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) to create more connections that will create more connections that will grow both the impact investing industry and the CFC’s impact.
The CFC is also strengthening its ability to respond to challenges such as the enduring pandemic, the impacts of war in Ukraine and the need to contribute to the sustainability agenda. Accordingly, by harnessing the power of technology to transform commodity chains and launching its new Commodity Impact Investment Facility (CIIF), the organisation will enhance its support for the communities it serves.
Poverty cannot be alleviated by acting in isolation. Supported by its member states, the CFC will continue to contribute to the fight by providing economic opportunity for many of the world’s 570 million smallholders and the SMEs they rely on.
Central to the CFC’s achievements are its brilliant team members, who combine expertise in the field with a passion for alleviating poverty. It is their work that has enabled the CFC to deliver 33 years of impact alongside the businesses the organisation supports, and their work that will keep changing lives for many years to come.