International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and Olam International, a global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products, has signed a USD120 million (N18.7 billion) agricultural loan agreement.
A press statement issued by Olam’s Head of Corporate and Government Relations, Ade Adefeko, said the five-year loan was meant to expand food processing and create opportunities for small-scale farmers in Nigeria and India.
“The loan will be used to finance upgrades and expansion of five food processing facilities in Nigeria and India. The projects will benefit local communities by generating rural employment and creating new market opportunities for small holder farmers to sell their crops,” the statement read in part.
The statement announced that the facilities to benefit in Nigeria are Crown Flour Mill, Lagos which will be expanded, while a new mechanical cashew processing facility will be set up at the cashew factory in Ilorin.
Apart from this, a new sesame hulling facility will be set up in Lagos while in India; both the Hemarus Sugar Mill at Kolhapur and the spice processing facility at Cochin will be upgraded.
According to the statement, the Crown Flour Mill in Nigeria will process imported wheat into flour for domestic bakers while the remaining four facilities will integrate by 2015, more than 45,000 small-scale farmers from surrounding regions into Olam’s supply chains.
This will be made possible by allowing them to supply their crops directly to the processing units, thereby guaranteeing a market for their products, the statement disclosed.