IFC invests in COMASA to improve resilience of the agricultural sector in Nicaragua
- 11 May 2021
Published by IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with Comercializadora de Mani, SA (COMASA), the largest peanut company in Nicaragua and leading exporter, to help preserve the competitiveness of the Central American country and protect thousands of jobs within the industry.
Nicaragua remains the poorest country in Central America, and agriculture has significantly contributed to its economic growth, accounting for 17 percent of GDP and 30 percent of exports and total employment over the past few years. A country diagnostic from the World Bank reports the sector has played an important role in poverty reduction, particularly in rural areas.
IFC's investment of up to $65 million dollars annually, will allow COMASA to maintain is production levels, remain a reliable global supplier, and continue sourcing peanuts from local farmers, protecting livelihoods during a period of turmoil. Of the annual financing, $50 million have been mobilized through syndicated loans.
"Peanut farmers have grown alongside COMASA. Exports have resulted in increased farm sizes and harvests, and the application of sustainable agriculture practices, leading Nicaragua to have one of the best peanut yields globally," said Joaquin Zavala, CEO of COMASA. "IFC's financing will allow us to continue strengthening our operations and exports, thus allowing farmers access to global markets and working capital financing," Zavala added.
Sanaa Abouzaid, IFC's Manager for Central America, said that "the investment will help safeguard rural livelihoods and improve the resilience of the agricultural sector, thus, boosting economic development. IFC is firmly committed to continue mobilizing private sector investments in challenging environments to help reduce inequality gaps. Nicaragua, as an International Development Association (IDA) country, is very much a priority for our operations in the region."
COMASA accounts for approximately 75% of peanut production in Nicaragua. The company has four processing plants in Posoltega, Sempro, Manicasa and Central; employs about 900 workers and sources from 180 farmers. They have played an active role in diversifying the country's more traditional agricultural exports like coffee, sugar, and beef.
IFC a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Comasa is the pioneer company in the planting, processing, and export of peanuts in Nicaragua, with almost three decades of being the leader and promoter in peanut production. During this period, it has managed to position the Nicaraguan peanut among the best in the world, exporting all its production to a diversity of countries around the world. It has managed to increase the production and export of peanuts in Nicaragua to be the third agricultural item in generating foreign exchange after more traditional sectors such as coffee and sugar.