CDC Group, the U.K. government’s development investment arm, is taking a step to help bridge what it estimates is a funding gap of as much as $31 billion that Africa’s agriculture and food industry faces each year, Bloomberg News reported. The 73-year-old institution is channeling $100 million to small-holder African farmers through export and trading company ETG, and is seeking other partners to help it deploy more capital to the sector. As banks withdraw funding from agriculture because of regulatory challenges, and with some larger players defaulting, institutions such as CDC have a significant role to play in plugging the shortfall, according to its spokesman and investment director, Brad Smith. “This is the biggest deal we have done in the corporate debt space,” he said in a video call. The agreement enables CDC to reach more than half a million farmers across 29 sub-Saharan African nations, from Mozambique and Tanzania to Kenya. The funding will target the least developed markets where ETG operates and be deployed to provide farmers with financing, data analysis and training to boost the production of staple crops such as grains, rice and cocoa. Read more.