Monsanto drops off the EBRD menu at least for now
Bankwatch Mail | 7 March 2013
“Please be advised that, in this particular transaction, the EBRD and Monsanto were unable to find a satisfactory project structure for financing. Each institution will continue to explore other opportunities in order to provide farmers and distributors with adequate and time-appropriate financing, which we recognize to be one of the key challenges to increase agricultural productivity in the Bank’s region of operations.”
This article is from Issue 55 of our quarterly newsletter Bankwatch Mail
Thus via an email from the EBRD in late January, Bankwatch was informed of the bank’s decision not to proceed with a proposed USD 40 million ‘risk-sharing facility’ that would have enabled medium-large farmers and distributors in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey to buy Monsanto’s seeds and agro-chemicals in installments, without Monsanto losing money if they got into debt.
Were the multinational’s notoriously unpalatable negotiating tactics just too much for the EBRD to stomach?
We may never fully find out, though Bankwatch will be quick to react again should Monsanto choose to approach EBRD once again for support – a prospect that should not be ruled out given the bank’s comments.
Read the background on our blog
What this case does highlight, however, is a distinct problem faced by a large institution such as the EBRD – it is difficult to reach individual farmers without intermediaries, because the bank does not have the on-the-ground infrastructure or local knowledge to provide thousands of small individual loans. This is a problem that needs to be addressed by central and eastern Europe’s governments and farmers’ unions if the EBRD is not to end up courting such unsavoury business partners again in the future.