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L. Joseph
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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 2, 1999 --- The International Finance Corporation will lend US$2.4 million to Tilda Uganda Ltd (TUL) for a rice growing and processing facility in Uganda.

The project privatizes and rehabilitates the bankrupt Kibimba rice scheme which was established in 1973 by the governments of Uganda and China as a joint venture.  TUL, a privately owned company established for the implementation of the project, acquired the rice operation in 1997 through Uganda's privatization program.

TUL plans to produce 3,000 tons of milled rice, 2,400 tons of maize, and 200 tons of soya each year. The rice mill will have a capacity of 5 tons per hour, processing rice grown by smallholders in the area as well as the farm's crop.

The project will produce high quality rice for the first time in Uganda and reduce imports, thereby saving foreign exchange, said Mr. Cesare Calari, IFC's Director for sub-Saharan Africa. It will also increase employment where it is much needed in rural eastern Uganda. Foreign private investment in agriculture will help feed the country's growing population and lessen the effect of droughts. Later stages of the project could make Uganda an exporter of rice to other countries in the region, he added.

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.