ALMATY, Kazakhstan (TCA) — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a $10 million financing to Phoenix Fruits LLP for establishing greenfield fruit orchards near Almaty, the largest city of Kazakhstan. This financing aims to help grow a sustainable and competitive horticulture sector in the country and to create jobs, IFC said on May 14.
With a land area equal to that of Western Europe, 74% of Kazakhstan’s land is suitable for farming. This makes agribusiness a promising sector to spur social and economic development in the country and to help diversify its economy.
IFC’s investment will support the establishment of an up to 1,000-hectare greenfield fruit orchard facility with a full cycle of growing, calibrating, storing and freezing of various fruit types such as apples, apricots and sweet cherries. The new orchard project is expected to create over 100 full-time jobs, of which 70% are expected to be women, as well as more than 2,200 seasonable jobs for the local community.
“Throughout this project, we are bringing our best agricultural practices and expertise to Kazakhstan. Furthermore, the IFC best-in-class knowledge will also help us scale up horticulture harvesting, create sustainable jobs and open access to global agribusiness markets,” said Anatoliy Shakirzhanov, Business Development Director in Kazakhstan, Phoenix Global.
This financing is part of a larger engagement between IFC and Phoenix Commodities Pvt Ltd (Phoenix), a parent company of Phoenix Fruits LLP. In addition to the loan to Phoenix Fruits LLP, IFC last month entered a $20 million risk sharing agreement through a guarantee mechanism that will allow Phoenix to increase the size of the trade finance facility available to its trading subsidiary in Dubai. This investment under IFC’s Global Warehouse Finance Program will support Phoenix’s fast-growing core agricultural commodity supply chain business in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.
Wiebke Schloemer, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said: “With our investments in horticulture sector, we aim to transfer and implement the best international standards in horticulture and help countries in Central Asia increase their competitiveness. The new orchards are expected to substitute fruit imports to Kazakhstan and increase domestic value addition through preservation and processing of the locally grown fruits. We are proud of partnering with Phoenix in this project.”
Since the beginning of investment operations in 1997, IFC has invested in Kazakhstan about $1.25 billion, including mobilization from partners of nearly $300 million, to support over 60 private sector sustainable projects across various industries, including agribusiness, financial services, manufacturing, and oil and gas.