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Fertile ground for the bank
Super Contributor

The next time you go to your local coffee shop for a café latte, know that you are enjoying the end product of the entire chain of agriculture banking – a chain that Standard Bank touches in some way every day. Agriculture in the middle of a trendy coffee shop? Yes, agriculture.

From coffee farmers …
One of our agriculture business bankers could have consulted a group of small coffee farmers in Uganda and potentially financed their input costs. The business banker would need to know what security they could offer to the bank for loans and how their cash flow works.

… to the coffee trader …
Once the coffee beans have been collected from farmers across the world, our structured trade and commodity finance team comes in, financing the raw coffee beans and while they are being cleaned and graded to get ready to go to international coffee roasters such as Illy and Ciro. This team would get guidance on international coffee prices from our agricultural trading desk to ensure Standard Bank does not pay more for the coffee than the coffee roaster will pay the coffee trader.

… to your café latte!
It’s only then that the roasted, packed and branded coffee beans are shipped all over the world, some of which land in your coffee shop where it’s ground to produce your café latte.

The flows of agri-trade are everywhere and Standard Bank can offer banking services throughout the chain. Our involvement ranges from the mature agriculture business to the new and growing. In between there’s the agricultural trading desk.

Understanding is key
For all the teams across Standard Bank Group, understanding agriculture is key to their success. For example, take commodity finance. When finance is granted, the underlying security is the commodity, such as the coffee beans. This commodity has a shelf life, is seasonal and has different values in different forms – for example raw coffee beans differ in price to roasted coffee beans.

We have a network of agriculture experts across Standard Bank Group and the countries in which we operate, including agriculture advisors on the ground who understand the farming community in their area, be it Zambia or South Africa.

Playing our part
As an emerging markets financial services group, it makes sense for Standard Bank to offer a full range of agri-banking products and services. Worldwide food security is important, but in emerging markets it takes on an even greater significance. For many developing countries agriculture is the biggest GDP contributor and employer, and can be an engine for economic growth.

This is why you see us grappling with debates and questions on our contribution to Africa’s continent’s food security. And, how do we work with groups of small farmers who lack traditional security, such as owning the land? How do we work with governments and donor organisations who want to provide food security for their citizens and at the same time improve individual household income?

When these debates gain life, we can find the financial solutions that work for our customers.

For more information on Standard Bank's agri-banking products and services, visit http://bit.ly/bHTxa.