Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus reportedly announced in June 2013 a new partnership between the Grameen Foundation, a US-based nonprofit of which Yunus serves is a board member, the Grameen Bank, a Bangladesh-based microfinance institution (MFI) founded by Dr Yunus, and Brazil Foods (BRF), a Brazil-based food production and processing company, to offer an unspecified amount of money through microfinance loans to small businesses in Haiti that are engaged in the production of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), particularly in the poultry industry [1,2]. This investment follows the completion of a feasibility study performed by the Grameen Bank and BRF, which not only studied rural and urban processing, animal genetics and technology of food for birds in Haiti, but also whether the effects of the country’s 2010 earthquake would inhibit the success of the project .
During the initiative’s first phase, BRF will build a centralized processing center for genetically-engineered poultry in Haiti. BRF allegedly kept this project under wraps until the deal was sealed, due to the controversial nature of GMOs in much of the world . According to a statement attributed to BRF’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs Wilson Mello, “the profits of the initiative will not go to BRF,” but instead “will go toward [the] development of the productive chain of the country so that the Haitian people” will have higher quality materials and foods. The Grameen Bank will provide funds of an unspecified amount to the Grameen Foundation, who will in turn supply the loans to BRF for the initiative .
As of December 31, 2011, Grameen Bank reported to the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange total assets of USD 1.63 billion, return on assets (ROA) of 0.41 percent and return on equity (ROE) of 6.82 percent. As of March 2012, the Grameen Foundation reported total revenue of USD 17.8 million and total assets of USD 24.1 million. For the year 2012, Grameen Bank reported a gross loan portfolio of USD 1 billion and total deposits of 1.67 billion. In the year 2012, BRF had total assets of BRL 30.8 billion (USD 15.0 billion), net sales of BRL 25.7 billion (USD 12.5 billion) and operations in 68 plants across Argentina, Brazil and Europe.
By Michael Averell, Research Associate
About Dr Muhammad Yunus
Dr Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker, economist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. As a professor of economics, he built on the concepts of microcredit and other forms of microfinance. Dr Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank, a Bangladeshi microfinance institution. In 2006, Dr Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
About Grameen Foundation
The Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit based in the US district of Washington, DC, provides financial, technological and managerial support to provide new business opportunities and telecommunication services for poor people in rural areas. Though it is independent of the Grameen Bank, Dr Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank, serves on the foundation’s Board of Directors. Grameen Foundation reported total revenue of USD 17.8 million and total assets of USD 24.1 million as of March 31, 2012.
About the Grameen Bank
Grameen Bank is a Bangladeshi microfinance institution that provides loans to poor entrepreneurs in rural areas. It was founded in 1976 by Muhammad Yunus, who, along with Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing the concept of microfinance. Dr Yunus was forced to resign in 2011 by the Bangladeshi government, which owns a 25-percent equity stake in the company. As of December 31, 2011, Grameen Bank reported to the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange total assets of USD 1.63 billion, return on assets (ROA) of 0.41 percent and return on equity (ROE) of 6.82 percent. For the year 2012, Grameen Bank reported a gross loan portfolio of USD 1 billion and total deposits of 1.67 billion.
Sources and Additional Resources
 The Sentinel News: “Yunus taps Brazil Foods to develop poultry industry in Haiti,” http://www.defend.ht/money/articles/business/4384-yunus-taps-brazil-foods-to-develop-poultry-industry-in-haiti
 The Haiti Observer: “Mohammad Yunus With Brazil Foods (BRF) To Develop Haiti Poultry Industry,”
MicroCapital story, October 27, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Yunus Social Business Fund Begins Financing Small and Medium-Sized (SMEs) in Haiti,” https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-yunus-social-business-fund-begins-financing-small-and-medium-sized-smes-in-haiti/
MicroCapital story, July 12, 2013, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bangladesh Government Criticized for Proposal to Takeover or Split Grameen Bank,” https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-bangladesh-government-criticized-for-proposal-to-takeover-or-split-grameen-bank/
MicroCapital story, April 15, 2013, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP, Grameen Foundation, Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Uganda to Finance $1m Mobile Finance Product Research and Development Initiative,” https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-cgap-grameen-foundation-mobile-telecommunications-network-mtn-uganda-to-finance-1m-mobile-finance-product-research-and-development-initiative/
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Dr Muhammad Yunus https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Muhammad+Yunus
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Grameen Foundation https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Grameen+Foundation
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Grameen Bank https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Grameen+Bank
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Brazil Foods (BRL) https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Brazil+Foods+%28BRF%29
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