IFC considers loan for India, Bangladesh mills

In July, the developmental finance institution’s board will consider a loan supporting expansion plans of Singapore-based agri trader Agrocorp.

The World Bank’s private sector unit, the International Finance Corporation, is considering a $12.5 million loan to support the construction of rice and pulse processing plants by Singapore-based Agrocorp International, according to a disclosure made earlier this month.

The loan will be used to support construction of two new pulse mills in India and one new rice mill in Bangladesh, a project with an estimated total cost of $47 million, according to the IFC.

Agrocorp has identified a location for one pulse mill in southern India and is currently looking for a second location suitable for a plant designed for service of eastern and central markets of northern India. In Bangladesh, the company is in the process of finalizing a location for a rice mill in close proximity to rice paddies, according to the IFC.

Construction of the mills will also to be supported through an additional $2.5 million loan from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, a developmental finance institution created to implement food and agriculture-related pledges made by the G20 during its September 2009 Pittsburgh meeting.

“The project contributes to improving the efficiency of the pulse-processing industry and in India and the rice milling industry in Bangladesh by setting up large scale modern automated plants, which are substantially more efficient than traditional mills,” the IFC wrote in a description of the project posted on its website. “These improvements, in turn, will contribute to improving overall efficiency of the industry.”

The project’s introduction of modern processing is expected to create 150 new jobs in India and Bangladesh, an employment impact the IFC labels as “modest” given high levels of automation at the facilities.

Founded in 1990, Agrocorp trades pulses, wheat, rice, cashews, sugar, grain and other commodities in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The company maintains offices in 13 commodity origin countries and has customers in 30 consuming countries.

Agrocorp entered the processing business in 2012 and already owns wheat processing facilities in Canada and is building a rice mill in Myanmar.

“Agrocorp expects to develop long-term relationships with farmers that will provide rice paddy and pulses to its new plants in Bangladesh and India, respectively,” the IFC wrote.

Earlier this year, the IFC provided a $30 million loan to support the construction of a different pulse milling operation in Kolkata, India.

IFC’s loan to Agrocrop is pending approval by the IFC board when it meets next month.