IFC consortium bets on Malawi fruit industry

The development finance institution has joined Dutch development bank FMO and GAFSP to invest $15m collectively into Malawi Mangoes.

A consortium of investors has invested $15 million into African mango producer Malawi Mangoes.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) joined GAFSP, formally known as the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, and FMO, the Dutch development bank, to inject $5 million each into the company.

IFC hopes the deal will encourage the private sector to consider the Malawi fruit industry a viable investment opportunity in the future in what one spokesperson called the “demonstration effect”.

The founders of Malawi Mangoes, Jonathan Jacobs and Craig Hardie, believe Malawi has great potential as an investment market.

“Malawi only needs investment and access to markets to become a regional leader in high-value horticultural production and processing,” they wrote in a press release. “This investment by IFC and FMO, combined with the empowerment of local people, puts us on the path to our goal of becoming the leading agro-processing company on the African continent over the next five years.”

Malawi Mangoes, which produces and exports mangoes, bananas and pineapples primarily, is currently awaiting accreditation from the Rainforest Alliance, which will make it the first banana plantation in Africa and the first mango plantation in the world to have this certification, according to a press release.

The financing package will fund capital investment plans, including an expanded nursery, a new 1,200 hectare plantation, the installation of climate-smart drip irrigation technology across the new farm and nursery, an expanded ripening chamber and a second processing line at the processing facility, according to the press release.

The GAFSP Private Sector Window is funded by five government donors: the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Japan and Canada.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Its full-year 2013 data valued its investments at nearly $25 billion.