Letter From LAAD’s President
Dear Associates and Friends:
Welcome to our newly redesigned web site that we trust you will find more informative and user-friendly.
This year we celebrate our 45th year of operations. The web site innovation is part of a larger process that encompasses all employees and departments within LAAD and marks LAAD’s fourth year following the vision of becoming a US$1 billion sustainable financial institution by financing economically, socially and environmentally responsible agribusiness projects. As many of you know, we have set this goal for 2020 although I personally think this can be achieved sooner. Our plan is called “FEED 2020” since the ultimate goal of all our developmental funding efforts is to promote production that will feed our world’s growing population. We are grateful to be able to contribute to this fundamental and praiseworthy goal.
As can be expected, LAAD’S growth is forcing our financial institution to increase operations and stretch resources throughout the organization. This growth not only increases the volume of work to be executed, but also generates the need for enhancements in our compliance, monitoring and reporting systems. I am very proud to see how our staff has risen to the challenge with commitment and enthusiasm, putting forward their best effort and suggesting ways to improve the efficiency of our institution. As in the past, our human capital is definitely LAAD’s primary competitive advantage.
And our efforts are paying off. At the end of this year, we should be slightly ahead of our growth projections outlined by the “FEED 2020” vision. We are continuing to promote growth by extending our reach deeper into Latin America’s farming regions. Over the past four years we have not only opened new country offices, such as Mexico and Paraguay, but also second offices in strategic agricultural areas around the Region to better serve our mission and objectives under our “FEED 2020” vision. During this semester we moved the primary office in Brazil from Brasilia to Goiania and are establishing second offices in Colombia (Medellin) and the Dominican Republic (Santiago de los Caballeros). This will help us stay closer to our clients and better understand their needs to grow and/or consolidate their operations in several markets that are beginning to slow down.
During the first half of this year we have seen unfavorable weather and drops in commodity prices in several of the industries we finance. As in the past, we have seen that the producers who have the capacity to differentiate their product based on higher quality are least affected by these temporary events and have the greatest recovery capacity. In addition to this, our diverse portfolio has also brought us new opportunities in other industries, giving it the stability that has been a strength for 45 years.
Another significant event in LAAD is the signing of the Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) agreement with the Austrian Development Bank (OeEB). The TAF will assist clients obtain social and environmental certifications, not only benefitting them in their sales and marketing efforts, but also improving work conditions for employees and minimizing any negative impacts on the environment. On the funding side, LAAD has partnered with close to 30 financial institutions in order to guarantee that we will have the funding to continue our developmental efforts for the upcoming years.
Finally, we continue to proudly support programs with commendable and effective goals, such as the sponsorships to students at the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana (Zamorano) in Honduras and the “Seeds for Progress” program in Nicaragua. More information can be obtained regarding these sponsorships from the “Special Initiatives” section of this web site.
We look forward to the future and continue to push forward with our “FEED 2020” vision. As you can see, we are innovating throughout the company with improvement ideas based on the experience and human resources that we have developed over the past 45 years.
Benjamín Fernández III