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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 1999 — With the Argentine province of Tucuman's important agriculture sector suffering from dramatic dropoff in sugar production, IFC is investing to promote agricultural production through lemon orchards and processing. IFC will lend Euro 11.5 million loan (US$12 million) to San Miguel S.A., Argentina's leading lemon producer and exporter.
San Miguel will use the investment to expand its processing and packaging facilities, doubling the plant's grinding and juice extraction capacity, and to buy irrigation and agricultural equipment. It will rehabilitate existing orchards and develop about 800 hectares of new trees to secure long-term supply of lemons. For more than a century, the economy of the Tucuman region has been based on sugar, but following the sharp decline of the sugar industry, the lemon production has become a major source of employment and revenues in the region.
Tei Mante, IFC Director for Agribusiness said the project will improve San Miguel's competitiveness in the world citrus market, where Argentina is strong. He said IFC is committed to supporting Argentina's agricultural sector, which accounts for 60 percent of the country's exports.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advise to governments and businesses. As of March 31, 1999, investments in Argentina represented 9.6 percent of IFC's portfolio, with a value of $1,096 million.
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