IVORY COAST – Valency International Trading SARL, subsidiary of Valency International Group in Ivory Coast, has received US$10 million debt financing from Finnish development financier and impact investor, Finnfund.
The funding will be channelled towards establishment of Valency’s new state-of-the-art cashew processing plant with an expected capacity of 45,000 tons of raw cashew nuts per year.
With this capacity, the company is expected to become a leading cashew kernel processor in the country, reaching up to 5% of the cashew farmers in the country.
Ivory Coast, produces about 1 million tonnes of cashews a year and aims to process half of that locally by 2025.
Currently, only about 100,000 tonnes of cashews are processed within the country annually, with the number feared to be dwindling as the processors face stiff competition from exporters of the raw commodity.
Once operational, the facility is expected to generate approximately 2,000 direct jobs and provide income for up to 10,000 smallholders.
Markus Pentikäinen, Investment Manager at Finnfund, said, “We are glad to support the growth and development of Valency’s operations in Côte d’Ivoire, and simultaneously, enhance sustainability in cashew production.
“With the new processing plant, the company will generate jobs and income for thousands of people.”
Valency is committed to sustainably run its operations, by developing a cashew supply chain management program, that allows them to work directly with smallholders and reduce the role of the middlemen in the current supply chain, hence providing more income for the smallholders.
Sumit Jain, Chief Executive Officer at Valency International Group, said, “We are very grateful to have a partner like Finnfund to support cashew growers/farmers in the region, enhance sustainability and improve livelihood through our operations in Côte d’Ivoire.
“The cashew processing plant is line with our shared vision outlined as part of Valency’s Food Ingredients strategy, and commitment to develop a long-term sustainable business model in Africa.”
Valency International Group is a diversified, integrated supply chain manager in Agri commodities and Agri inputs with subsidiaries in 15 countries.
Recently its Nigerian unit, Valency Agro, received a three-year US$3.5 million loan from Social investor Oikocredit, to support development of the country’s cashew nut production and processing sector.
The financial backing will enable the agro-processor to increase its procurement of raw cashew nuts and its capacity to transport, warehouse and process the nuts into high- quality cashew kernels for export.
The investment, according to Oikocredit, will also sustain and create more permanent and seasonal jobs and aims to improve the livelihoods of smallholder cashew farmers and their families.
With five cashew nut processing centres fully equipped with state-of-the-art machines, the company plans to bring 400 more female employees into its workforce and equip them with the necessary skills.