Building Resilience: Agribusiness Feeding the World Sustainably

Article originally published in the IFC’s Annual Report 2015.

By 2050, the worldwide demand Agrabusiness-Story-Bannerfor food and crops will double. That poses a formidable challenge for the global community: how to feed the world’s expanding population without depleting its already scarce resources.

IFC is partnering with the private sector to address the challenge. Through our agribusiness investments, we aim to increase the supply of affordable and nutritious food, and ensure it is available to those who need it most.

In FY15, our agribusiness-related investments across the food supply chain totaled $3.2 billion, including funds mobilized from other investors. These investments in production, food processing, logistics, and distribution helped benefit 3.4 million farmers worldwide.

Our work gives farmers better access to finance and opens up new markets for them. It takes us from Nepal to Nicaragua, where our clients train farmers to raise productivity, reduce waste, and adopt environmentally sustainable practices.

We promote inclusive development by focusing on opportunities for women and small farmers — and helping them manage risks. In Nepal, we and our partners invested nearly $4 million in animal-feed maker Probiotech Industries to enhance productivity in poultry farms and boost incomes among smallholder farmers.

Probiotech makes almost all of its purchases from small and medium enterprises, which, in turn, obtain their supplies from small farmers. IFC’s investment is an example of how we create opportunities for farmers and others — throughout the supply chain — to raise their income.

In developing countries, demand for meats like poultry and pork is rising swiftly as the middle class expands. This year, we invested $60 million in Romania’s largest pork producer — Smithfield Romania — to help expand production, create jobs, and promote best practices in food safety, animal husbandry, and environmental management.

In Iraq, we invested $18 million in the Saudi company Al Safi Danone’s Iraq unit to help build a dairy plant in the city of Erbil to meet the rising demand for dairy products. The plant is expected to produce about 59,000 tons of dairy products every year.

When the Ebola epidemic buffeted the Liberian economy, we and our partners helped provide $5 million in financing to Wienco Liberia, which supplies fertilizers to cocoa farmers. By 2019, the funding is expected to make it easier for up to 7,500 farmers to buy fertilizer and use it effectively — potentially doubling cocoa yields.