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Small Bolivian sesame farmers to boost output and income with IDB support

$2.1 million loan will help fund expansion of one of Bolivia’s biggest sesame seed exporters to benefit 2,200 small farmers in Santa Cruz region

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a $2.1 million loan to finance the expansion of Alimentos Naturales LATCO International S.A., one of Bolivia ’s largest sesame seed exporters, a project that is expected to benefit 2,200 small sesame farmers in the Santa Cruz region.

The project will allow LATCO to provide financing and training for small sesame farmers already in its supply chain to expand production of organic sesame seeds as well as incorporate new families into the company’s supply chain.

“This project will enable small farmers to increase productivity and expand output, providing an important opportunity for them to gradually rise above extreme poverty.” said Agustín Zamora, the IDB team leader for the project. Currently, the majority of the families in LATCO’s supply chain are of indigenous origin and live below the national poverty line.

Greater sesame seed supply will allow LATCO to develop new value-added product lines; including sesame paste, oil and flour; as well as expand its exports. The IDB loan will also finance the infrastructure and machinery for these new lines and the construction of a new international distribution center, where products will be properly fractioned and stored, improving the company’s export logistics.

The loan was granted by Opportunities of the Majority, the IDB initiative that supports innovative business models that can improve the living conditions and earning opportunities for those at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid in Latin America and the Caribbean. The loan is for a seven-year term, with a two-year grace period and a repayment period of five years.

About LATCO

LATCO, based in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, is a private company that specializes in the organic farming and export of sesame seeds. The company began operations in 2003 and since then it has spurred an increase in sesame production among small farmers in Bolivia. It is currently the main source of income for more than 1,200 families living in 68 impoverished communities in the Santa Cruz region. LATCO currently exports to the Japanese, U.S., German, Dutch, Israeli, and Korean markets, and is exploring the possibility of opening new markets in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru.