Impact Investment Programme

Solidaridad started Fairtrade in the 1980s, created companies such as AgroFair in the early 2000s, and is today attracting patient capital to finance the growth of game-changers across the agri-food sector. We provide a pipeline of solutions with meaningful impact that lasts well beyond the timeframe of our projects.



The global population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, putting food security, economies, and even our planet at risk. Fortunately, the agri-food sector is attracting a new generation of entrepreneurs and farmers aiming to increase production and improve nutrition while conserving the earth’s natural resources. Solidaridad is wholly committed to working with impact investors to support these innovators.

  • Finance accelerates trade

    Solidaridad aims to increase the competitive position of farmers so that they can grow crops sustainably and make a decent living. We will also strengthen the food supply chain by supporting the businesses that service farmers through processing, logistics and services. Introducing innovations and accelerating market, finance and policy mechanisms will help speed change.

  • Meeting unmet finance needs

    There are many farmers and small and growing businesses in the agri-food sector with credit need beyond microfinance and below commercial finance (roughly between EUR 50,000 and EUR 1,000,000) that are not captured by current markets, leading to a USD 150 billion gap in demand for credit.

    Scouting and selecting these opportunities is time consuming and make these small sized loans loss giving. Solidaridad takes over these activities and offsets the operational costs of investors.

  • Key to achieve systemic change

    We believe impact investment has a key role to play in helping to achieve systemic change. This kind of funding delivers interventions to scale, where grants are insufficient, drives change beyond the project period and enables donors to leverage their resources through investment

Track record 50 years of experience

Solidaridad celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019. We have half a century of experience driving transformation in the agri-food sector and identifying business cases with the most potential. By mid-2019 we had a pipeline of 59 deals worth EUR 147 million and counting.

  • When local smallholders began achieving higher tea yields, Ugandan tea exporter Kayonza decided to set up a satellite factory to help it cope with increased volumes and take advantage of potentially higher income. As part of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Equator prize for sustainable food projects, Solidaridad and UNDP selected the Kayonza Tea Factory as a potential investment opportunity.

  • Following the success of the introduction of Fairtrade coffee in 1999, Solidaridad sought to create a similar impact in the banana sector. Determined to create market-driven impact despite sector resistance, Solidaridad actively targeted impact investors. This led to a partnership with a select group of financiers, a commercial entrepreneur in Ecuador and a farming business in Ghana, and a single company was created: AgroFair.

  • The Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme II (SWAPP II) drives large-scale adoption of the sustainable intensification of oil palm cultivation and processing by West African SGBs through active private sector participation. This goal is being pursued by improving access to finance by small and growing businesses.

  • The Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP II) focuses on the adoption of sustainable methods to intensify cocoa production. Methods include improving farmers’ access to inputs (planting material, fertilizer, crop protection), extension advice, and other services (including finance), through so-called Rural Service Centres.

Solution a pipeline of investable propositions

In order to bring sustainable production into the mainstream, Solidaridad is seeking to secure impact investments in addition to traditional grant funding. We have 15 specialists located around the world as well as a range of analysis tools available to build a pipeline of investable propositions across the agri-food sector.


    Our five-stage pipeline of impact investment opportunities serves the dual purpose of selecting and supporting innovators. At each stage – project, initial business case, investment case, pitch and investment – we select and support the best opportunities. Not every opportunity makes it to the next stage. Those that do can count on Solidaridad’s support throughout the process of making them fully investment-ready to facilitate investment by (impact) investors.


    Solidaridad’s focus is on finding game changers: innovative businesses and projects with the potential to bring lasting sector transformation. These opportunities tend to require significant support before they are suitable for investors. Because we recognise their transformative nature, Solidaridad is willing to invest its own funds (cash or in-kind) in them, alongside investments made by (impact) investors.

    Sharing expertise We are working with Lendahand, ICCO and Truvalue to launch a crowdfunding platform for the Missing Middle in 2019. The platform builds on the partners’ combined expertise: local networks, crowdfunding and financial assessment. Keeping costs down Sourcing investments from crowd and institutional investors will provide the right mix of impact capital while maintaining a low-cost model. Together with other front runners, we aim to showcase the untapped potential of agri-food SGBs. A variety of solutions The crowdfunding platform will connect directly to our pipeline of deals and our accelerator to enable lending small amounts to the entrepreneurs in our portfolio, as well as subordinated and junior debt in combination with impact investments.

Impact Financing the missing middle

We use a prioritized set of impact indicators during our selection process, aligned with industry standard IRIS. Scalable impact is prioritized over deepening impact. We focus on opportunities that will directly or indirectly lead to yield improvements, lower costs, increased efficiency (e.g. water management or reduced fertilizer usage), higher quality produce and better access to markets for farmers. 

Solidaridad is a member of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepeneurs (ANDE)


Want to know more

about Solidaridad's impact?


When you are looking for impact investment opportunities in the agricultural space, or when you are interested in supporting our work making small growing businesses investment ready, please give us a call or send an email.

  • Contact Information

    Frederik Claasen

    Impact Investment Specialist

    't Goylaan 15, 3525 AA Utrecht, The Netherlands