Lagos Nigeria, August 21, 2013—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a $6 million investment
in Saro AgroSciences Ltd., a leading distributor of herbicides and
insecticides in Nigeria. The investment will support the expansion of the
company’s distribution capacity and increase access to agrochemicals for
over 500,000 smallholder farmers by 2016.
IFC’s loan will help Saro AgroSciences increase
its distribution network from 82 to 300 outlets across Nigeria, and widen
its technical assistance program for farmers so they can increase their
yields. The Project cost is estimated at $12.2 million, which will be financed
with IFC’s loan and $6.2 million equity from Saro AgroSciences.
Oluwole Adeyegbe, Managing Director, Saro
AgroSciences, said, “Saro AgroSciences is committed to developing agriculture
in Nigeria and in other countries in West and Central Africa by providing
safe and reliable crop protection and products for farmers. IFC’s support
enables us to fulfill our commitment. Saro AgroSciences, as a leader, is
therefore further strengthened and positioned to help more farmers increase
crop productivity, enhance food security, and boost economic development.”
Agriculture represents over 40 percent of
Nigeria’s economic activity, and is the country’s largest employer. The
sector has suffered from a lack of investment, resulting in yields of less
than half its potential. Agriculture is expected to continue to be the
main driver of growth in the short to medium term, especially through agricultural
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice President,
Sub Sahara Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “Supporting
agribusiness is a key priority for IFC in Africa as it generates employment
and promotes economic development. IFC will help Saro AgroSciences, implement
environmental and social standards in the crop protection sector and reduce
the country’s food import bill, which is one of the highest in Africa”.
Herbicides and insecticides are essential
for improving agricultural productivity by managing pests, fungi, weeds,
and diseases that destroy crops.
Nigeria is a net importer of agricultural
produce with a food import bill of about $6.25 billion annually. Population
increases combined with a rapidly rising middle class are putting a heightened
focus on improving the productivity of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
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 more than 100 countries, we
use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty
and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time
high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector
to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org