By Chinyere Anyanwu
that of Singapore The private sector will play a vital role in improving the livelihoods of thousands of smallholder farmers and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Nigeria following the construction of a new warehouse and ‘a complex for processing agricultural products in the country.
IFC, the world’s largest development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, has agreed to issue $18 million in debt financing to Robust International Pte. Limited, a Singapore-based agricultural company with operations in the Asia-Pacific region and Sub-Saharan Africa. Founded in 2006, Robust primarily markets specialty crops such as cashews, sesame, ginger, and gum arabic, among others.
¡¡The company will use the loan proceeds to build modern warehouses and processing facilities in northern Nigeria, and the financing is one of the first investments in modern secondary sesame processing in that region. The project will improve smallholder farmers’ access to modern storage and processing facilities, while enabling Robust to increase direct sourcing volumes from smallholder farmers. The storage facilities will relieve farmers of the need to store their own crops in often poor conditions, leading to high post-harvest losses and unnecessary GHG emissions related to spoiled feed, which accounts for around 5% of total carbon emissions. Nigeria GHG.
The financing package consists of a senior secured loan of up to $9 million from IFC’s own account, as well as a concessional loan of up to $9 million from IFC acting as implementation of the private sector window of the International Development Association.
“Robust is committed to empowering farmers and enriching local communities and has followed and encouraged sustainable farming practices,” said Naarayan Raaghavan, President and CEO of Robust. “We are very pleased to work with IFC on this project, which will provide employment opportunities to the local community while contributing significantly to Nigeria’s economic growth and value addition in the country’s supply chain. The project also involves deeper engagement with smallholder farmers by supporting them in adopting sustainable farming methodologies while encouraging and training them to work on raising awareness on issues relating to environmental conservation, as well to contribute to their overall economic well-being.