ASIA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group is investing US$25 million in KazFoodProducts LLP food processing group of companies operating in grain milling and confectionary sectors.

The investment aims at supporting the company’s expansion plans, boost Kazakhstan agricultural sector through diversification strategies as well as enhancing global food security.

The company is a processor and distributor of flour, wheat gluten, starch, animal feed and confectionery and the financing will help it diversify its product line and expand its packaged food business.

“IFC’s funding is crucial for us to be able to grow our business, improve the efficiency of our operations, and contribute to the development of Kazakhstan’s agricultural sector,” said Alikhan Talgatbek, chief executive officer of KazFoodProducts.

“We consider this engagement an important milestone in our strategic vision to becoming a regional agribusiness champion.”

IFC said the project is expected to create about 500 jobs, contribute to farmers and retailers through the company’s supply chain, while applying IFC’s environmental and social standards.

Kazakhstan is a major producer and exporter of wheat and flour, responsible for about 4% of the global traded volume and according to IFC, the country has the potential to further increase its grain production and play a bigger role in regional food security, especially in neighboring grain-deficit Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

KazFoodProducts in collaboration with IFC through its advisory services will work to pursue sustainable development by improving food safety and environmental and social standards.

IFC will also help the company raise corporate governance and increase operational standards.

“Agribusiness in Kazakhstan has enormous untapped potential since the country has a very large area of arable land,” said Georgina Baker, IFC Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Central Asia.

“Unleashing that potential will help increase exports and create jobs, including in frontier regions of Kazakhstan with higher poverty rates and limited employment opportunities.”

KazFoodProducts operates through three main subsidiaries including AsiaAgroFood, a joint stock company, operating in grain milling and the country’s largest producer of flour, glucose syrup and animal feeds.

Others are Bayan Sulu, also a joint stock company, the country’s largest producer and exporter of confectionery; and BioOperations, an LLP and the country’s only plant for the deep wheat processing of starch, wheat gluten, flour, bioethanol, and animal food.