Ecom Agroindustrial Corp

Africa Food and agriculture

Ecom Agroindustrial Corporation Limited is a commodity merchant and sustainable supply chain management company, based in Pully, Switzerland.

Founded in 1849, the company provides raw materials and related services to coffee roasters, cotton textile mills, and chocolate manufacturers worldwide. It is one of the world’s largest traders in these commodities.

Our investment

In 2014, CDC committed $25 million to a debt facility for the company. The facility, which totals $75 million, includes commitments from the Dutch DFI FMO and Germany's DEG. It provides working capital for a period of up to seven years, longer than would have been available through a commercial arrangement.

Our funding was used to finance inventories and suppliers in Ecom's African operations, supporting long-term relationships with smallholder producers in emerging markets.

Expected impact

The traditional agricultural trading companies in some of Africa's poorer countries – Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria – buy goods at the port. There is a heavy reliance on middlemen and trading is often opportunistic, leaving smallholders short-changed.

Ecom's business model spans direct relationships with smallholder farmers, through to selling direct to large multinational buyers. In contrast to traditional models, the company buys at the farm gate, helping to improve farmer incomes.

It also invests in rural logistics and processing assets such as buying stations, coffee mills, cleaning facilities and warehouses, supporting the local supply chain.

Environmental and social aspects

CDC is working closely with Ecom and other lenders to ensure that the company's relationships with long-term farmers and cooperatives deliver benefits to livelihoods, as well as good labour practices in its supply chains.

The initiative helps farmers improve production practices, enhance yields, and improve access to inputs and certification programmes such as Rainforest Alliance, Utz, Organic and Fair Trade.

Key facts


Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.


We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.

Food and agriculture
Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

Direct Debt
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date CDC committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that CDC committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

December 2014

For direct investments, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the fund.


This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.