June 7, 2024

Firm, Johnvents industries partner to boost Nigeria’s cocoa production, export capacity

By Dayo Johnson, Akure

The lnternational Finance Corporation and an agribusiness group, Johnvents Industries Limited, have announced a partnership to expand the company’s cocoa processing operations and increase its export capacity to global markets.

This partnership, is to help strengthen Nigeria’s agricultural sector and support the livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the country.

Group Managing Director, Johnvents Industries Limited, John Alamu, said that the IFC’s $23.3 million financing package, which include local currency funding in Nigerian Naira, will allow Johnvents to expand its cocoa processing plant in Ondo State, Nigeria, and double its production capacity to up to 120 metric tons of cocoa per day, helping to provide steady incomes for farmers in its supply chain.

Alamu said that ” The financing package includes an $8.5 million loan from IFC’s own account, a $6.3 million loan equivalent in Nigerian Naira with support from the local currency facility of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window, and a $8.5 million loan by the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).

“As part of the partnership, IFC will also provide advisory services to Johnvents to help the company increase women’s participation in its workforce and across its value chain.

“IFC will also help strengthen the company’s ongoing sustainability and traceability program and advise Johnvents on enhancing efficient digitization and sourcing of its current processing capacity of cocoa-based products, including butter, cake, and powder for chocolates, confectionaries, and health products.

“As part of efforts to support Johnvents’ sustainability efforts, IFC’s financing package will enable the company to replace inefficient diesel generators and wood-based boilers with a new efficient power generation system that uses natural gas to produce electricity and thermal energy, resulting in fewer emissions.

” The system’s installation is designed to facilitate the future integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar, contributing to and directly aligned with Nigeria’s decarbonization strategy in agriculture value chains.

“IFC’s partnership with Johnvents marks another giant step in our commitment to transform Nigeria’s cocoa sector and agriculture industry.

“This support will help strengthen our operations and energize our commitment to sustainability, traceability, and inclusive growth.

“By doubling our production capacity and increasing export potential, we aim to deliver more value to all stakeholders and significantly contribute to the nation’s economic diversification and development. We are immensely grateful for IFC’s support,”

The IFC Managing Director, Makhtar Diop, said that “agribusiness plays a critical role in fostering value addition and diversifying Nigeria’s economy.

“IFC’s financing and advisory support for Johnvents will help strengthen the company’s operations, develop Nigeria’s cocoa sector, and sustain and create thousands of jobs.

According to him, cocoa plays a crucial role in Nigeria’s agribusiness sector and the country is one of Africa’s largest producers and exporters.

He said by supporting Johnvents, IFC is contributing to allowing the company to meet higher demand and access new markets, while boosting Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global cocoa market, and increasing the country’s export earnings.

“Johnvents has a target to achieve 100 percent traceable cocoa, with at least 90 percent certified, by 2027, and to improve traceability protocols for Nigeria’s cocoa produce for international markets.

“IFC’s financing and advisory support to Johnvents is part of its strategy to promote diversified, inclusive growth and job creation in Nigeria, and is part of its broader work in Africa to support sustainable agricultural practices, increase local capacity, and develop regional value chains and markets”