[Guinea Bissau] Frutas & Legumes receives $3.4 million boost from IFC to scale production
International Finance Corporation has invested three million Euros in Frutas & Legumes, a vertically integrated producer and exporter of cashew nuts and mangoes in Guinea-Bissau. The loan marks IFC’s first agribusiness investment in Guinea Bissau in over two decades.
Frutas & Legumes will use the financing to expand its production of organic fruits and vegetables to export to European markets. The company will also start sourcing from additional small-scale farmers to complement supplies of crops from its own farms, and build out its agro-processing infrastructure.
Frutas & Legumes plans to pilot new crops such as lime and avocado which are in demand for export markets. The company, established in 2014 and owned by Spanish families, is Guinea Bissau’s first “organic” or “bio” certified cashew and fruits exporter.
The cashew sector is core to Guinea-Bissau’s economy. Cashews are cultivated by 55 percent of Guinea-Bissau’s rural households and account for over half their income. The sector also represents 90 percent of Guinea-Bissau’s export revenues.
Cristóbal Sánchez Fornieles, founder and shareholder of Frutas e Legumes, said “IFC’s investment will allow us to expand and diversify our organic products to become more competitive on export markets. It also opens up new horizons for the farmers from whom we source around half of our produce”.
Faheen Allibhoy, IFC’s Country Manager for Guinea Bissau, said “IFC’s investment in Frutas & Legumes will boost the local production of fruits and diversify the country’s agricultural base. It will also benefit the entire value chain, from growers to entrepreneurs who provide processing, packaging and transport facilities. Frutas & Legumes links local farmers to global markets, which is critical for economic development in countries like Guinea Bissau.”
Part of IFC’s investment will be provided through the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. Donor partners to the program are the governments of Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S. This funding makes it possible for IFC to support projects with strong focus on food security and poverty reduction.
IFC’s support for Frutas & Legumes reflects the Corporation’s deepening commitment to Africa’s fragile and conflict affected situations, which are among the most challenging markets in the world. Over the past five years, IFC has invested over $1 billion in fragile and post-conflict countries in sub Saharan Africa. IFC’s strategy in countries like Guinea Bissau focuses on attracting investment, improving basic services, creating jobs and markets.