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Kenyan flower farm expands to Ghana

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on Tuesday announced an investment of $7.0 million to support the expansion of Vegpro Group, one of Kenya’s top five flower exporters, into Ghana.

“The project helps an African company expand into a new market, allowing sustainable land development while providing jobs and creating a supply chain that includes small-scale farmers,” IFC said in a statement.

The Vegpro Group will use IFC’s investment towards developing a 1,070 hectare farm in Ghana, to boost the company’s vegetable production and meet increasing demand from existing clients in Europe.

The company will work with 800 smallholder farmers in Ghana, giving them access to international markets for the first time.

The new project continues an investment relationship between IFC and Vegpro that began in 1995. IFC has since made a second investment in 2005, helping Vegpro emerge as a leading agribusiness company in Kenya.

Mr James Cartwright, Business Development Director of Vegpro Group said: “Vegpro will apply the lessons from 30 years of horticulture business in Kenya, to create similar success and productivity. Crops, like, chilies, butternut and baby corn, which grow less well in Kenya will flourish in Ghana”.

“Vegpro aims to train as many as 1,500 workers new to the sector by 2014.”

Vegpro Group has experienced rapid growth, with turnover increasing from $3.0 million to $100 million since IFC’s first loan in 1995. Along with growing, processing and exporting vegetables, The Vegpro Group is now one of Kenya’s top five flower exporters and owns one of the country’s top three cargo agents.

Vegpro will build on Ghana’s policies that have helped improve infrastructure for agri-business. She recently invested in a perishable cargo centre at the airport and the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project.

Vegpro will be the anchor tenant in the irrigation project, after signing a 50-year-lease with the Government, and form a new joint venture company with Air Ghana to manage the new airside perishables centre at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

Mr Yoande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa said, “Vegpro Group’s proactive growth in Ghana demonstrates the opportunities for African companies in the agribusiness sector. IFC is eager to help companies like Vegpro that want to improve food production, and expand the African agribusiness sector beyond the home market.”

IFC will provide advisory services on corporate governance to help position Vegpro Group as a strong international company.

Agri-business is a strategic priority for the IFC in light of the growing challenge of food security in Africa.

The agricultural sector is a large source of employment for Africans, providing linkages with smaller businesses.

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