In a bid to improve the lives of the estimated 3.6 billion persons who live on farms of less than two hectares, and of the one billion people who lack access to modern forms of energy, the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Foundation - LGF (www.laguardiafoundation.org) of New York City and Consorzio Etimos (www.etimos.it) of Padua, Italy have established the Energy Millennium Development Goal Financing Facility (E-MDG-F).
Planned and designed with the support of REEEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership), the facility provides equity, debt, and guarantees to help subsistence farmers out of poverty by financing clean energy components that add value to what they produce. These include micro-irrigation systems that enable farmers to raise crops out of season, the construction of hydroponic systems that allow them raise crops where there is very little available water, the use of solar dryers to produce high-value dried fruits and herbs, and the purchase of bio-digestors to produce methane for heat and organic fertilizer. The E-MDG-F is designed to supplement local financing for basic inputs such as seeds and tools.
The E-MDG-F will first operate as a pilot program in the State of Alagoas and the City of João Pessoa, in Brazil’s impoverished Northeast. Planning for expansion of operations to Mozambique and other African countries is under way. The facility is capitalized by the Cariplo Foundation and Consorzio Etimos.
E-MDG-F’s first investment will be in AMercsol, an initiative organized by the LGF and its Brazilian partner, Instituto Eco-Engenho (IEE), to support small agricultural entrepreneurs by completing commercial chains for their projects and offering ongoing technical assistance, working capital, and procurement and marketing services. The facility will also provide a line of credit for IEE to re-lend to smallholders in João Pessoa, Paraiba and Carneiros, Alagoas, for renewable energy inputs and training.
“REEEP is pleased to have played a decisive role-building capacity in the private sector,” notes Marianne Osterkorn, Director General of REEEP, “and the first investments already indicate how clean energy inputs can genuinely transform rural livelihoods.”