Seeding change:financing farm inputs


As the global demand for food grows, the agribusiness industry is looking for new ways to grow with it. But for those looking to invest in ‘farm inputs’ that represent poor collateral value to lenders, it’s been difficult to secure annual financing—until now. Together with global agrochemical and seed pioneer Syngenta, DLL has introduced an innovative new financing model that makes purchasing farm inputs easier and less risky. Under the name Syngenta Finance Italy (SFI) DLL will support the customers of Syngenta in managing their cash flow.

Where one is affected by delays due to the structure of the value chain this partnership brings value. This is the case in areas where annual crops are present: in such areas, payments to farmers for production activities are concentrated in the final months of the year. This entails financing support from those companies who supply technical means first and, subsequently, those who supply inputs: this allows agricultural enterprises to purchase seeds and essential crop protection products for their production cycle. For Syngenta partners this flexibility guarantees the great advantage of coping with the need for longer payment terms, without having repercussions on their supply chain.

Deep roots in agriculture
According to Philippe Giraudet, Syngenta’s former Head of Financial Solutions and currently Digital Agriculture Risk Mitigation Lead, a particular challenge for Syngenta was that banks lack the agricultural understanding to finance farm inputs.

“They do not know how to price risk and crop cycles, and few have a truly global scope,” he says. “I was struck by DLL’s expertise in agriculture and the overlap between our portfolios and contacts. This led us to explore ways to develop a captive financing program for farm inputs.”

With its strong ties to Rabobank and historical roots in agriculture, DLL also recognized the synergies. “Syngenta asked Rabobank to facilitate their go-to-market strategy, and we introduced them to DLL,” says Matthijs Mondria, Rabobank Sector Head for Farm Inputs. “The team did a fantastic job leveraging their unique operating platform to create a distributor finance program in Italy. This is a great example of a client-centric partnership between Rabobank's business lines.”

In addition to their affinity for agriculture, DLL is able to white label their offer to us and has the global reach to scale it.Those are important qualities for our financial solutions partner."

Risk sharing
Syngenta and DLL developed and trialled their new farm inputs financing model in Italy based on a risk–sharing mechanism and with the goal of becoming the financing partner of choice to Syngenta’s clients.

“SFI is a solution that allows Syngenta's business partners to access an extension of payment terms consistent with the needs of the areas where they operate, at a competitive cost and sponsored by Syngenta as part of the ongoing business relationship.” Federico Faletti, Program manager Commercial Finance-Food & Agriculture.

It is one of the planet’s most difficult dilemma’s: how to grow more crops using fewer resources? The ambition of Syngenta is to bring greater food security in an environmentally sustainable way to an increasingly growing world by creating a change in farm productivity.

“By combining our respective product and market insights, we enable Syngenta's dealers to purchase more inventory, putting them in a better position to grow sales,” says Roger Bryan, VP Sales and Program Management Commercial Finance at DLL.

Since the pilot program started in Italy it has been a huge success and dealer numbers keep growing. Fluctuating weather conditions in Italy have delayed the selling season of seeds and crop protection products: DLL’s financing program has helped the dealers to sustain the pressure put on their working capital by such delay.

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