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
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 www.ifc.org
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.