NIGERIA- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has unveiled plans to invest US$23.3 million to support the expansion of Nigerian food processor Johnvents Industries Limited’s processing capacity in a move meant to improve Nigeria’s cocoa production. 

The investment will fund the expansion of Johnvents’ cocoa processing facility in Ondo State. Once completed, the facility will process 120 metric tons of cocoa every day. The company targets achieving 100% traceable cocoa in the international market by 2027. 

The investment package will include a US$8.5 million loan directly from the IFC’s account, US$6.3 million from the International Development Association (IDA), and a US$8.5 million loan from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP). The IFC, IDA, and GAFSP are all developmental financial institutions that work under the World Bank. The IFC is expected to take a lead role in overseeing the investment. 

In a statement, the IFC revealed that the investment is expected to contribute to Nigeria’s cocoa value chain expansion.  

Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director, said, “Agribusiness plays a critical role in fostering value addition and diversifying Nigeria’s economy. IFC’s financing and advisory support for Johnvents will help strengthen the company’s operations, develop Nigeria’s cocoa sector, and sustain and create thousands of jobs. 

Johnvents expressed confidence and optimism following the announcement. 

John Alamu, Johnvent’s GM, said, “IFC’s partnership with Johnvents marks another giant step in our commitment to transform Nigeria’s cocoa sector and agriculture industry. This support will help strengthen our operations and energize our commitment to sustainability, traceability, and inclusive growth.” 

According to Johnvents, the move will allow the processor to meet the current high cocoa demand and access new markets. This will help boost Nigeria’s competitiveness in the international cocoa market, increase export earnings, and provide employment opportunities. 

The investment comes at a time of extreme price volatility in the cocoa sector caused by climate change, disease and high inflation. Prices increased to an all-time high of US$12,261 in mid-April as cocoa producing giants like Ghana and Ivory Coast failed to meet cocoa futures. Chocolatiers reacted in panic, offering premium prices for cocoa beans. 

The IFC’s announcement comes a few weeks after French entrepreneur Olivier Bordais inaugurated constructing a US$1.6 million cocoa processing facility in Cameroon. 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industryHERE