IFC partners with ITOCHU to develop largest pineapple processing facility in Sierra Leone
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japanese trading company ITOCHU Corporation and its subsidiary Sierra Tropical Ltd. to develop the largest pineapple producing and processing facility in the Republic of Sierra Leone, which will help the country increase its agricultural competitiveness and export capacity.
With support from the Sierra Leone government, Sierra Tropical Ltd. plans to develop a pineapple farm and processing plant located in the southern Bo District. At the new facility, the company plans to produce packaged fruits for export to Europe, Canada, and the United States.
The project is expected to increase job opportunities, enhance the living environment, and facilitate regional development in the country. IFC is exploring providing finance to the project as well as an advisory component to enhance the productivity of small farms.
This project would be the first IFC investment in Sierra Leone’s agribusiness to support local transformation and connect small farmers with global value chains.
“Sierra Leone is on a path to recovery and growth but still faces high unemployment, with more than 60 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day,” said Philippe Le Houérou, IFC CEO. “The project will support Sierra Leone’s economic growth in the long term by creating thousands of new jobs and developing a long-term sustainable industry. It showcases how public-private partnerships can be effective in delivering greater impact in places where it’s needed most.”
Sierra Tropical Ltd. and its parent company Dole Asia Holding Pte Ltd., are fully owned by Itochu. Dole is a leading fresh produce company with deep experience in pineapple farms and processing plants in Asia.
By leveraging the Dole’s expertise and brand, combined with Itochu’s global food value chain, the project is expected to bring significant development impact, including job creation and industry expansion, in Sierra Leone.
“I am pleased that we are able to contribute to the development of people and communities in the Republic of Sierra Leone. We are fully committed to this project, which will help increase employment and improve livelihoods by fostering local industry through public private partnership,” said Yoshihisa Suzuki, ITOCHU President & COO.