Colombian government to launch 1bn peso agri fund

The private equity fund is aimed at improving competitiveness for Colombian agribusiness in the international market.

The Colombian government is seeking to raise 1 billion peso ($333,000; €292,000) for an agtech and agri production-focused private equity fund to improve efficiency in the country’s agribusiness sector.

The fund, Capital Fértil, will invest in projects which will increase the competitiveness of Colombian products in international markets by introducing  new technology and best practices in production and manufacturing. It will seek out agribusinesses in sector that traditionally have difficulty gaining access to bank loans, with a focus on grain, fruit and meat products.

Capital Fértil is part of the government’s Colombia Siembra agricultural development programme, which aims to widen the overall cultivated land area in Colombia by 1 million hectares between 2015 and 2018. The Agricultural Bank of Colombia, the Agricultural Development Trust Company (Fiduagraria) and the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are overseeing the fund’s launch.

“This plan, created under Plan Colombia Siembra, is an opportunity to attract more resources from the local and international private sector, to enact projects that translate into more development opportunities for development, entrepreneurship, employment and revenue generation for the rural population,” said Luis Fernando Cruz, president of Fiduagaria.

Colombia consistently ranks near the top of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. A wide range of elevations in farmland allow for production of a variety of crops, water sources are plentiful and the country’s ports enjoy strong access to North America and Europe. However, Colombia’s agriculture sector as a whole remains underdeveloped partly due to a half-century of conflict between the government and left-wing guerrilla groups, who have been in protracted peace talks since 2012.