SINGAPORE — IFC and Olam International announced on Aug. 28 that they have signed a five-year $120 million loan agreement to finance upgrades and expansion of five food processing facilities in Nigeria and India. 

The projects will benefit local communities by generating rural employment and creating new market opportunities for smallholder farmers to sell their crops.

IFC financing will support the following facilities operated by Olam:

• Crown Flour Mill, Lagos, Nigeria (expansion)
• Hemarus sugar milling, Kolhapur, India (upgrade)
• Spice processing, Cochin, India (upgrade)
• Mechanical cashew processing, Illorin, Nigeria (new)
• Sesame hulling, Lagos, Nigeria (new)

The Crown Flour Mill in Nigeria will process imported wheat into flour for domestic bakers. The remaining four facilities will integrate by 2015 more than 45,000 small-scale farmers from surrounding regions into Olam’s supply chains by allowing them to supply their crops directly to the processing units, thereby guaranteeing a market for their products.

“Our partnership with IFC reiterates Olam’s continued focus of enabling economic prosperity and social and environmental sustainability throughout Olam’s operations,” said A. Shekhar, Olam’s executive director for finance and business development. “IFC’s rigorous environmental and social review has been focused on the five processing facilities to ensure they meet IFC’s stringent loan criteria. However, IFC has also reviewed a range of Olam’s policies, procedures and management initiatives that apply throughout our supply chain and we will continue to build on these best practices in line with The Olam Sustainability Standard.”