Clean energy financing facility to transform lives of subsistence farmers

Energy Millennium Development Goal Financing Facility (E-MDG-F) launched

According to Paul Polak, in Out of Poverty, of the estimated 3.6 billion persons (out of the world population of 6.6 billion) who live on farms of less than two hectares, one billion lack access to modern forms of energy, and nearly 800 million live on less than a dollar a day. To help tackle this problem, the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Foundation - LGF ( of New York City and Consorzio Etimos ( of Padua, Italy today announced the establishment of 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 helps subsistence farmers to emerge from poverty by providing equity, debt, and guarantee financing of energy components that add value to the farmers' products. These include micro-irrigation systems that enable farmers to raise crops out of season, hydroponic systems that allow crops to grow where there is very little available water and arable land, 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 Joo Pessoa, in Brazil's impoverished nordeste region. 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 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 on-lending to smallholders in Joo 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."

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