IFC and AATIF invest in Senegal onion plant to boost agriculture and jobs
13-10-2020 08:41:46 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 3999 | Tags:

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund (AATIF) have announced an investment to help Société Africaine d’Ingrédients (SAF Ingrédients) build an onion dehydration plant in Senegal—the first in sub Saharan Africa—that will create hundreds of jobs and boost the country’s agriculture exports.

The unique project involves decommissioning an existing onion dehydration plant (built in 2003 and closed in 2014) near Dijon, France, and relocating it to St. Louis in northern Senegal. Support from IFC and AATIF will also help SAF Ingrédients develop a 760-hectare onion farm and establish a large out-grower network of onion farmers.

The plant is expected to produce almost 5,000 tons of dehydrated onions annually, representing two percent of the global supply, with some production being exported to Europe. Dry onion powder is an important and popular flavoring in soups, stews, and many other dishes.

The €13 million investment is composed of AATIF’s €6 million senior loan, IFC’s “A” loan of up to €3.5 million from IFC’s own account, and a concessional loan from the IDA Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility of up to €3.5 million. The IDA Private Sector Window was launched to catalyze private sector investment in places where it is needed most.

Magatte Wade and Emmanuel Vallantin Dulac, respectively CEO and Managing Director of SAF Ingrédients, said in a statement: “Support from IFC and AATIF will allow us to build only the second onion dehydration plant in Africa while creating jobs and sustaining the livelihood of thousands of farmers. It will also allow us to grow our business in West Africa and link Senegal to the global food industry.”

Aliou Maiga, IFC’s Director for West and Central Africa, said, “This investment illustrates IFC’s support to improve access to finance for SMEs in agriculture, which is essential to create jobs in Senegal. It is also timely, as it will help spur agricultural productivity and contribute to Senegal’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Dr. Thomas Duve, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AATIF, said, “This investment represents AATIF’s first corporate investment in Francophone West Africa, one whose potential impact in the local economy excites us. With 100% of the supply being sourced locally, largely from smallholder and commercials farmers, alongside the creation of numerous jobs, this project is an opportunity for significant impact on local value addition, one we are proud to be affiliated with.”

Over the last 10 years, Senegal’s onion production has increased significantly to reach approximately 400,000 tons per year. The new plant will process a type of onion which is better suited for dehydration and delivers higher yields.