By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A fresh loan of $ 200 million has been secured by Olam Agri, the subsidiary of Singapore-based Olam Group, for the provision of food to over 40 million people in Nigeria and other emerging markets.
The credit facility was provided by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.
Olam Agri will use the funds to purchase wheat, maize, and soy from Canada, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and the United States for delivery to the company’s processing operations and customers in Nigeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Ghana, India. , Indonesia, Pakistan, Senegal, Thailand, and Turkey.
According to a statement, the loan will further support flows of key food commodities to developing countries, which have been reliant on sourcing from the Black Sea region.
The goal is to help ease food price inflation, particularly in fragile, conflict-affected, and poorer countries that are net food importers, which are among the worst affected, and where food purchases comprise an outsized share of disposable incomes.
“This facility further supports us to continue to supply staple crops and ensure food security to some of the most populous countries in Asia and Africa most at risk of global food inflation,” said N. Muthukumar, Chief Executive Officer, Operations at Olam Agri We’re delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with IFC, aligning with Olam Agri’s focus on better access to food and nutrition for the most vulnerable and on strengthening global food security. ”
“The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and climate change are having disastrous effects on food security for developing countries, erasing years of hard-won development gains,” said Rana Karadsheh, Regional Industry Director, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services, Asia Pacific at IFC. “Our partnerships with key agricultural commodity-trading companies such as Olam Agri are crucial to maintaining the flow of critical food staples between countries with surpluses and deficits, ensuring better food security for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations.”
It was gathered that the IFC gave this facility to address food insecurity, especially for poor and vulnerable populations that have been hit hard by food inflation.
Food prices have risen significantly over the last two years, driven by the impacts of COVID-19, adverse climate events, and the war in Ukraine.
The number of food-insecure people in the world has been rising every year since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than half of countries globally experiencing a worsening situation. An estimated 928 million people were severely food insecure in 2020, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an increase of 148 million from 2019.
The situation has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which has impacted exports from the Eastern European country and Russia, which collectively produce a large share of key food commodities including wheat and maize as well as energy, fertilizer, and key components of fertilizer production. , resulting in rising production and transportation costs.
Poor climate conditions and droughts in key producing countries including Argentina, Brazil, and the United States have worsened the outlook, driving calls for action from the public and private sectors.