IFC provides €10m in financing to Tunisian date exporter

Posted on: 29 June, 2020 at 9:39 AM

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing €10 million in financing to Tunisian date processing company VACPA.

The company, the country’s largest exporter of dates, buys its fruit from close to 1,000 farmers and employs more than 1,700 workers, 80 percent of whom are women. IFC’s investment is delivered in two tranches – €5.5 million as working capital to meet the company’s immediate needs and €4.5 million with which VACPA plans to expand its operations, diversify into date concentrate production, and improve the supply chain.

Agriculture is a key industry for Tunisia, accounting for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and around 10 percent of total exports. VACPA exported 13,500 tonnes of dates in 2019, mainly to Europe, North America and South-East Asia. The Covid-19 crisis, however, has impacted both demand and supply in the food industry, and put a financial strain on businesses.

“Not only will we continue to support livelihoods of rural dwellers through IFC’s financial package, but with IFC’s advisory support, farmers will be able to modernise their operations and adopt sustainable farming practices,” said Mohsen Boujbel, the founder and general manager of VACPA.

“IFC is softening the economic blow so that businesses can continue to operate and pay their workers during the Covid-19 outbreak,” said Beatrice Maser, IFC’s director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We adapted our financial package to VACPA so it could emerge stronger as a company, providing steady employment to many rural women and buying produce from small-hold farmers.”

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