TerraBlanca is an impact investment fund which aims to empower the Internally Displaced Population (IDPs) and other vulnerable groups affected by the internal conflict in Colombia. By building sustainable agricultural business models in rural areas and supporting social enterprises, our objective is to contribute to the development of peaceful and inclusive communities.
The internal conflict in Colombia has left 7.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs). Colombia has the regretful record of having the second largest number of internally displaced people worldwide, ahead of countries like Sudan and Iraq. Only until 2018, the Syrian internal conflict generated a larger displaced population.
For safety reasons, families fled to large metropolitan areas or nearby towns. However, they faced other challenges such as extreme poverty, labor informality, lack of access to education, health, among others. In a post-conflict context, many families dream of returning home, but capital and economic opportunities are needed to ensure a dignified and sustainable relocation.
To give landless victims of Colombia’s armed conflict an opportunity to be landowners, TerraBlanca Impact Capital, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation & Kellogg School of Management Sustainable Investing Fellowship, has been working on an innovative financial structure to help bridge the credit gap for these families in war-torn regions, most of whom were previously smallholder farmers.
TerraBlanca intends to structure the Rural Displacement Fund (RDF) as an innovative financial structure that can properly capture long-term economic value and catalyze private capital in post-conflict Colombia.The RDF is a private equity real estate fund with a buy and lease scheme with three main goals, namely to convert unused land into productive high-yielding farms, to reincorporate former smallholder farmers to the value chain, and to supply global institutional buyers with traceable and reliable Andean and Amazonian produce.
Potential Refugee Impact
It has been over a year since the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla group, to end the country’s long-standing internal conflict. Implementation of the agreement is underway, but not without major challenges. Colombia must address the over 7 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs), the second largest number of IDPs worldwide according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).Stressing their situation further, Colombia is also the most unequal Latin American country in terms of land distribution with 81% of fertile land owned by 1% of farms. Dealing with land ownership inequality is particularly relevant in a country where 87% of total displacements happened in the countryside.
The initial pilot will directly impact the 120+ people that make up the 25 pioneering families.
A Rural Displacement Fund (RDF) is a financial instrument that has a private equity real estate fund structure with a buy and lease scheme that aims to empower victims in post-conflict countries. The aim of RDF is to enable smallholder farmers to restart their livelihoods and rebuild ownership of their lands.
The RDF raises capital to acquire large extensions of unused fertile agricultural land, most likely left unused by communities fleeing conflict. The acquired land would be parceled later on into smaller productive units. Additionally, a housing unit with basic amenities would be built on each one of these new small farms. Each productive unit is then leased to a family wanting to return to rural areas as smallholder farmers. Finally, for families to be able to meet the rural lease payments, TerraBlanca helps them procure and access markets to fairly sell their produce.