Date: Friday, October 11, 2013
Agriculture Fast Track Fund formally approves the award of two grants. AFT grants cover project preparation costs for public and private sponsors of proposed agriculture infrastructure projects.

Friday October 11, 2013: Tunis, Tunisia - The Agriculture Fast Track Fund (AFT) has selected two companies to receive grant funding that will cover project preparation costs in the coming months: Tanzania-based Darsh Industries and the Fédération Nationale des Coopératives de Vivriers de Côte d’Ivoire (FENASCOVICI). The AFT, a multi-donor trust fund housed in the African Development Bank, supports the preparation of high-value agriculture infrastructure projects.

Darsh Industries is a tomato processing company and plans to expand its production with a new processing plant in Iringa, Tanzania – a proposed investment valued at approximately US$7,000,000. The AFT grant will be used to complete a business plan, a financial analysis and engineering studies for the new project, as well as an environmental and impact assessment. Darsh estimates that the new investment will benefit approximately 38,000 smallholder farmers (40% women) in the Iringa area who will become suppliers of tomatoes to the new plant.

FENACOVICI unites eleven cooperatives working in the across Cote d’Ivoire and plans a US$11,000,000 investment that will increase the production of cooperative members by expanding drip irrigation and will add infrastructure for the collection and handling of fresh produce at six locations, as well as fund the construction of three rice mills and four cassava processing operations. FENACOVICI estimates that these investments will impact approximately 2,000 smallholder farmers (60% women) with total annual benefits of nearly US$50,000,000 from sales of increased production and value added.

The AFT plans to announce another Call for Applications on November 1, 2013. Applications will be accepted through the AFT website (www.aftfund.org).