The financing is expected to help Zalar Agri to expand its operations while creating permanent and seasonal jobs in the rural regions of Morocco
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to provide $24m in financing to Zalar Agri, a Moroccan fruit producer, for job creation and to spur export-led economic growth in rural Morocco.
The $24m financing includes $12m from IFC’s own account and $12m in B loan through its syndication programme.
The financing is expected to help Zalar Agri to expand its fruit and nut growing operations, creating both permanent and seasonal jobs across the rural regions of Morocco.
IFC’s financing in Morocco could reduce rural poverty
Such a loan is considered to be crucial for a country, where rural poverty is estimated to be twice as much as urban poverty.
Zalar Agri chairperson Farouk Chaouni said: “We are proud of this partnership with the IFC, a high-profile international investor who will allow us to reinforce our Group’s institutionalization and expand and diversify our farming operations into many highly-growing agricultural varieties, while enhancing in parallel our downstream capabilities.
“IFC’s support will also help us expand our processing operations and develop exports, creating good jobs and added value in the places that need them the most.”
The financing is part of IFC’s larger push to develop sustainable agriculture in the country’s farming sector, where 37% of Moroccans are employed and to help local producers step into lucrative foreign markets.
IFC vice president for the Middle East and Africa Sérgio Pimenta said: “Poverty and unemployment remain major challenges in Morocco’s countryside. By helping agriculture companies grow and enter new markets, we can foster the type of sustainable, inclusive growth that Morocco is striving for.”
Established in 1977, Zalar Agri is considered to be one of the largest producers of apples and is a significant player in the agriculture sector as well in the country. The company has well-established brands for apples and stone fruits.
Besides apples, the company produces several fruits such as pears, agri cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, avocados, dates, mandarin oranges, almonds and pomegranates. Zalar Agri has preservation plants in Fez, Tiddas.