IFC Loans US$10M to Local Agribusiness
By Kyaw Hsu Mon 7 September 2016
RANGOON — The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, supported local agribusiness with a US$10 million convertible loan to the Myanma Awba Group, formalized at a signing ceremony in Rangoon on Tuesday.
The loan will be used for the expansion of agribusiness and job creation by the Myanma Awba group, U Thadoe Hein, chief executive officer of the group, told The Irrawaddy at the signing ceremony.
“It has a low interest rate, and the loan will later be converted to shares of the World Bank,” he said.
With the money, the Myanma Awba Group will build the Hmawbi Agricultural Input Complex, a formulation plant for crop protection products, located 30 kilometers north of Rangoon.
It will be the first and only modern crop protection plant in Burma that meets environmental criteria set by the World Bank Group.
“Our support to the Myanma Awba Group will facilitate improvements in agricultural productivity and create much needed jobs along the agricultural value chain,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC country manager for Burma, at the signing ceremony.
“Supporting agribusiness is one of the IFC’s priorities in Myanmar as it helps increase rural income and promote inclusive growth for about 70 percent of the country’s labor force working in this sector,” he added.
Myanma Awba Group expects the new complex to create about 500 jobs and support a grower base of more than 3 million farming families across the country.
The plant is expected to meet up to 50 percent of the demand for crop protection chemicals in the country.
According to a joint statement, the IFC has significantly scaled up its investment in agribusiness in recent years. For the fiscal year ending June 2016, the IFC invested $3.4 billion across the agribusiness supply chain, from farm to retail—to help boost production, increase liquidity, improve logistics and distribution and expand access to credit for small farmers. IFC’s agribusiness portfolio as of June 2016 stood at US$5.6 billion.