Portfolio Partner Profile
Multibank is a private, local bank that has been operating in Panama for over 50 years. The bank’s focus is on sustainable cattle, rice, pineapple, citrus, vegetables and coffee/cocoa under agroforestry systems. The strategy of Multibank for the agribusiness sector is to focus on formal medium producers acquiring equipment and investing in farm infrastructure to intensify production and increase productivity.
The financial system in Panama only provides 2.2% of total credit to the agriculture activities, and Multibank is one of the few private banks in the county that supports the sector Agricultural producers in general, lack access to finance and lag their regional peers in terms of competitiveness. Only a limited number of medium to large producers have access to local markets -and financing and are in a position to invest in technology and implement sustainable practices to mitigate and adapt to climate change. These investments allow producers to increase productivity and compete with imported food.
The use of funds is earmarked for companies holding an eligible sustainability certification in addition to selected green list items. The bank’s financing targets investments that promote water conservation and efficient waste management. Wastewater treatment and recycling of agricultural by-products and solar energy will help mitigate the impact of agribusiness activities. Good management practices for sustainable cattle include improved animal feed, inclusion of trees to create silvopastoral systems, improved waste management, among others. These practices will allow producers to utilize less land, reduce pressure on forests, recover degraded areas, increase carbon storage, and reduce GHG emissions.
The anticipated impact is two-fold: 1) systemic impact encouraging the bank to provide more flexible and patient capital to high impact sector such as sustainable agriculture and 2) direct social and environmental impact by creating green jobs and improving end borrower practices and therefore reducing CO2 generating, soil degradation, loss of water for irrigation, etc.