IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $25 million in KazFoodProducts LLP, a leading Kazakh food processing group of companies operating in grain milling and confectionary sectors, to support the company's expansion plans and boost Kazakhstan's agricultural sector, helping to diversify its economy while enhancing global food security.
KazFoodProducts processes and distributes flour, wheat gluten, starch, animal feed and confectionery. IFC's financing will help the company diversify its product line and expand its packaged food business. The project is expected to create about 500 jobs, contribute to farmers and retailers through the company's supply chain, while applying IFC's high environmental and social standards.
"IFC's funding is crucial for us to be able to grow our business, improve the efficiency of our operations, and contribute to the development of Kazakhstan's agricultural sector. We consider this engagement an important milestone in our strategic vision to becoming a regional agribusiness champion," said Alikhan Talgatbek, CEO of KazFoodProducts.
Kazakhstan is a major producer and exporter of wheat and flour, responsible for about 4 percent of the global traded volume. The country has the potential to further increase its grain production and play a bigger role in regional food security, especially in neighboring grain-deficit Afghanistan and Tajikistan. With wheat already one of the country's leading non-oil and gas exports, expanding wheat exports would also substantially diversify the economy.
"Agribusiness in Kazakhstan has enormous untapped potential since the country has a very large area of arable land," said Georgina Baker, IFC Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Central Asia. "Unleashing that potential will help increase exports and create jobs, including in frontier regions of Kazakhstan with higher poverty rates and limited employment opportunities."
In addition to financing, IFC's advisory services will help KazFoodProducts pursue sustainable development by improving food safety and environmental and social standards. IFC will also help the company raise corporate governance and increase operational standards.