WASHINGTON, D.C., February 10,
1999 – The International Finance Corporation is providing US$12 million
in financing for two interrelated citrus projects in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
In Costa Rica, IFC is providing
a loan of $5 million and investing $4 million in quasi-equity in TicoFrut,
the country's largest industrial citrus juice producer and exporter. The
project will help TicoFrut expand the capacity of its citrus processing
plant in Aguas Zarcas by more than 50 percent and reduce overall production
costs. In addition, the project will generate 30 additional full-time
and 360 seasonal jobs.
In Nicaragua, IFC is supporting the creation of the
first commercial scale orange plantation company with a loan of $2 million
and $1 million in equity in Frutales del San Juan, S.A. Through the
project, Frutan – a joint venture between TicoFrut S.A. and Nicaraguan
investors – will develop orange groves over 2,000 hectares and increase
production over the next few years. The project will enable Frutan to apply
farming and technical expertise from the Costa Rican sponsor. Upon
completion, the project will employ 42 full-time workers and generate about
500 seasonal jobs.
The projects will expand and diversify
the traditional export base of both countries, resulting in additional
foreign earnings, said Tei Mante, Director of IFC's Agribusiness Department.
Having demonstrated a solid track record in the citrus sector within
the region, the projects will stimulate further private investment in agribusiness.
IFC will monitor ongoing compliance
with World Bank Group environmental, health, and safety policies and guidelines
in both countries.IFC supports competitive local industries and in particular,
the development of small and medium enterprises such as this project. IFC,
part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing
world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the
international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and
advice to governments and businesses.