IFC, Nigeria’s Johnvents sign N35 billion cocoa financing deal

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Johnvents Industries Limited have announced a partnership worth $23.3million (about N35 billion) to expand the company’s cocoa processing operations and increase its export capacity to global markets.

The partnership is also aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s agricultural sector and supporting the livelihood of thousands of farmers across the country.

Records at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security indicate that the country made N358 billion in cocoa export in 2023.

The figure is the highest agricultural contributor to Nigeria’s gross domestic products for the period.

Johnvents is involved in sourcing and supplying quality cocoa beans for export.

The Group Managing Director, Johnvents Industries Limited, John Alamu, while addressing journalists in Akure, said the IFC’s $23.3 million financing package includes local currency funding in Nigerian Naira, which will allow Johnvents to expand its cocoa processing plant in Ondo State.

He said it would also double the company’s production capacity to up to 120 metric tons of cocoa per day, helping to provide steady incomes for farmers in its supply chain.

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Mr Alamu said 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 Programme (GAFSP).

He said the partnership with 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 programme and advise Johnvents on enhancing efficient digitisation and sourcing of its current processing capacity of cocoa-based products, including butter, cake, and powder for chocolates, confectionaries, and health products.

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“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,” he said.

Mr Alamu explained that 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 decarbonisation strategy in agriculture value chains.

He stressed that IFC’s partnership with Johnvents marked another giant step in the company’s commitment to transforming Nigeria’s cocoa sector and agriculture industry.

“This support will help strengthen our operations and energise 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,” Mr Alamu said.

The IFC Managing Director, Makhtar Diop, on his part, said 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,” he said.

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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.

Mr Diop further noted that 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,” Mr Diop said.

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