ASIA – The International Finance Corporation, IFC has provided US$3 million loan facility to SLCM Limited, a Delhi-based agri­ logistics group to expand its warehousing services in Myanmar.

According to IFC, the credit facility will help the company expand its warehousing services and allied services in the Southeast Asian nation while improving farmers’ livelihoods by reducing post-harvest losses.

The agency also hopes to help farmers store higher volumes and reduce post-harvest losses caused by infestation, excess humidity and inadequate storage.

IFC will provide the loan to SLCM through its own account and in its capacity as an implementing entity of the private sector window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).

Post-harvest losses in Myanmar are estimated at 20% attributed to poor storage conditions.

The investment will enhance sophisticated warehousing and allied services, enabling farmers store higher volumes and reduce post-harvest losses.

“We have replicated our best practices and expertise in agriculture warehousing domain in Myanmar,” said Sandeep Sabharwal, Group CEO, SLCM.

“In the past five years, we have been able to reduce post-harvest losses to 0.5 percent in the country, thus helping every player in the farm-to-market chain.

“We intend to utilize the capital to further scale up our operations and expand our presence here.”

Having entered Myanmar market in 2014, SLCM Group boasts of 3.24 million square feet of commodity storage space in 127 industrial zones and has handled 521 commodities with a total volume of 10.14 million tons.

This investment further reinforces IFC’s commitment to Myanmar’s agribusiness sector, where it has worked with local food producers and the government to provide training in food safety management systems, reforming regulations, and improving the business environment.

Since 2013, IFC said it has invested and mobilized over US$1.3 billion in Myanmar.

“Myanmar’s agricultural sector is a key pillar of the economy and provides employment to about 53 percent of the labor force,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Manager for Myanmar and Thailand.

“Further, developing this sector is key to helping people move out of poverty.

“A World Bank research has shown that progress in the agricultural sector was directly responsible for at least 46 percent of the reduction in poverty between 2005 and 2015.”