When we refer to disbursements, we are encompassing any funds sent as part of an Export Credit payment (prefinance request), Buyer Credit payments made to suppliers, or the release of a Stock Facility or Term Loan.
During 2023, a total of £49.2m was disbursed compared to £51.9m in the prior year. This reduction was driven almost exclusively by lower levels of disbursement in South America. In this region, we saw a closure of five accounts whose total facility value reach was USD 2.25m. In addition, South America is the region mainly affected by the effects of the new Fairtrade Minimum Price in coffee, due to this announcement occurring as the harvest started in this region. An increase in Central America was not anticipated to be at this level and driven predominantly through logistical challenges.
Disbursements in Africa remained stable year on year. The graphs (right) show where the funds were disbursed by region, including funds sent on behalf of our buyers customers.
Due to political and economic constraints, it is not possible for us to lend directly in some of these regions, therefore our relationship with buyers is essential in reaching disadvantaged communities in those areas. For example, we made 429 payments to organisations in India for a total of £2.7m, a country in which we cannot lend directly. A proportion of payments were also sent on behalf of buyers to other fair trade organisations in Europe and North America. In addition, we also make payments to other social lenders in different parts of the world, on behalf of producers we both support. The disbursements made to Europe relate to an Austrian based food buyer who manages their account via reimbursements for invoices paid, £670k of the £1.57m paid to Europe in 2023 was paid to their farmers in Uzbekistan.