I recently returned from Ethiopia where I visited a project that is being covered by MIGA’s political risk insurance. The project involves the privatization and expansion of an existing farm to cultivate and process passion fruit, mango, and papaya for juice exports. The newly formed company, africaJUICE Tibila Share Company, has taken what was essentially an abandoned farm and transformed it into a thriving enterprise.
The project introduced passion fruit to the community which is harvested and processed into juice in a new state-of-the art factory. The juice is then exported to markets in Europe and the Middle East. In addition to creating significant direct employment for a poor rural area (2400 employees), the project is developing a cadre of contract farmers who can earn a significantly higher income for this “in demand” product. At the same time, these farmers can grow their regular crops – mostly onions and tomatoes – in between the rows of passion fruit. africaJUICE has invested substantially in the local irrigation scheme so that local farmers can tap into it. Although there is an abundant water supply from the local river, people continued to suffer during droughts because irrigation was not widely practiced.
In my view, this is a great demonstration of how responsible investment in agribusiness can help Africa feed itself and the world. But perhaps the pictures tell a better story: