Press Releases

IFC and GAFSP Invest $9 million to Help Small Farmers Develop Hazelnut Industry in Bhutan

Washington DC, April 18, 2016—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the private-sector window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) will jointly invest $9 million in Mountain Hazelnuts, to boost incomes and create jobs for Bhutanese farmers. Other financing will be provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). IFC and ADB will each provide $3 million with an additional $6 million in support from GAFSP.

The equity investment will allow Mountain Hazelnuts, an organization promoting hazelnut production among smallholder growers in Bhutan, to provide hazelnut saplings, agricultural inputs, and cropping advice to local farmers free of charge. Up to 15 percent of Bhutan’s population is expected to eventually benefit from the project.

“The hazelnut trees will be planted on fallow land and degraded mountain slopes that otherwise have no commercial use for the farmers,” said Daniel Spitzer, Chairman and CEO of Mountain Hazelnuts. “Once the trees produce hazelnuts, we will purchase the crop from the farmers at a guaranteed minimum price and market the hazelnuts to international buyers.”

The project allows participating farmers to significantly increase their income by selling hazelnuts. Mountain Hazelnuts will also provide farmers with access to global knowledge and best practices.  

“Mountain Hazelnuts’ business model is simple but promises significant development impact,” said Alzbeta Klein, IFC Director of Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services. “IFC’s, ADB’s, and GAFSP’s support will help diversify income-earning opportunities for small farmers, including women, increase access to new markets, and improve the environment by sequestering carbon with 10 million new hazelnut trees and rehabilitating degraded mountain slopes.”

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit


GAFSP is a global effort that pools donor resources to fund programs focused on increasing agricultural productivity as a way to reduce poverty and increase food and nutrition security. GAFSP targets countries with the highest rates of poverty and hunger. The public sector window helps governments with national agriculture and food security plans. The private sector window, managed by IFC, and supported by the governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, provides long- and short-term loans, credit guarantees, and equity to private sector companies to improve productivity growth, deepen farmer’s links to markets, and increase capacity and technical skills.

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IFC                                                                Mountain Hazelnuts:                                       \ifc_org

In Washington DC:
Elizabeth Price
Phone: (202) 458-0387

In New Delhi:
Minakshi Seth
Phone: +91 11 4111 1000