Women working on plant tissue culture or Iribov in Ghana

Invest International to finance plant production and tissue facility of Iribov in Ghana

July 12, 2023

Invest International is providing a EUR 6,8 million loan to Iribov Holding B.V. for the expansion of their plant breeding and production services in Ghana. The loan from the Dutch Good Growht Fund (DGGF) we manage on behalf of the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs will finance new laboratory facilities for tissue culture and enable Iribov to expand their greenhouses in Sogakope, Ghana. This expansion will create at least 200 new jobs locally and, in the long term, help contribute to food security in West Africa through the production of disease-free vegetable plants. The loan was possible due to collaboration with Rabobank.

Disease-free vegetable plants

Dutch-founded Iribov is active in providing laboratory services for propagation of plants through tissue culture. Tissue culture means customers can quickly scale up a new plant product and therefore introduce it to the market faster. In addition, because the production process is completely isolated, the material can also be delivered disease-free. Iribov has experience with over more than 400 diverse crops across their production facilities in the Netherlands, Macedonia and Ghana.

The loan will finance expansion which will double greenhouse capacity and quadruple laboratory facilities at their site near Sogakope, 110km East of Accra. The expansion aims to service growing global demand of tissue culture based produced crops and supply the local West African market with mature plant material.

Contribution to SDG 8 and SDG 13

  • The financing will contribute to the creation of at least 200 new jobs in Ghana, of which approximately 75 percent will be filled by women thereby contributing to SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 5 (gender equality).
  • This number may increase further if the West African (food production) market grows as anticipated.
  • Further, by producing disease-free vegetable plants for the local market they can help to contribute to local food security in West Africa.
  • Besides this, the new building will be very energy-efficient and well insulated, which will already reduce substantially the amount of electricity needed.
  • In order to further reduce their carbon footprint in Ghana, Iribov will install solar panels to cover at least 85 percent of their electricity need. This contributes to SDG 13.
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Iribov tissue plant production Ghana facilities

A look on the facilitites of Iribov in Ghana. The loan Iribov receives from Invest International will finance expansion which will double greenhouse capacity and quadruple laboratory facilities at their site near Sogakope, 110km East of Accra. The expansion aims to service growing global demand of tissue culture based produced crops and supply the local West African market with mature plant material.

Collaboration with Rabobank

Martijn Braaksma, Senior Investment Manager (SME & Mid-Corporates) at Invest International on the collaboration with Rabobank:  “Rabobank approached us on behalf of their client Iribov. As a growing company, they had expansion plans in the Netherlands and in Ghana. Rabobank was willing to finance the Dutch expansion. To go further for their client, they invited us to see if we could finance the expansion of the Ghanaian operations.”

“For Rabobank, financing the Ghanian expansion was not feasible because of Iribov’s parallel expansion plans in the Netherlands and due to the challenges of setting collateral abroad. That’s why and when Rabobank introduced us to Iribov, us being additional to the market. Besides that, we are cooperating in several other cases, so we know what we can expect from each other. Rabobank sees Invest International as a reliable partner for supporting their clients abroad.”

Iribov CEO Eloy Boon: “Iribov was looking for a possibility to increase production by expanding our facility in Sogakope, Ghana. Local funding of this kind of investments is almost impossible, so the Rabobank suggested to team-up with Invest International. After a swift preparation, a sustainable and fruitful cooperation was born. Invest International has provided us with a fitting loan to accomplish our goals in Ghana and enables us to build a solid base for further expansion of our services throughout Africa.”

Rabobank Account Manager, Marco Dorsman: “Iribov is a very promising company in the food and agricultural sector. They play a key role in the production chain of food and floricultural products. Due to the growing international demand for healthy plant material Iribov is challenged to grow internationally within this market. To make sure we can grow together and fulfill food and floricultural stability it was essential to make a future proof financial construction. Therefore, we teamed up with our partner Invest International. Invest International was able to finance the operation in Ghana and we filled in the investment plan for the Dutch operation. Moreover we look forward together with the entrepreneur for his future strategic growth ambitions. With the parentship with Invest International we can help our client in the best way. Now, and in the future.”

Rabobank International Business Manager, Rien Venema: “We serve our Dutch clients and prospects abroad. We work together with the colleagues of the corporate teams and the local member banks like Marco and our International Desk managers. We investigate together with our colleagues what will be the most optimize financing structure and which products are suitable for the client. Also for Iribov. In this case, the solution with Invest International was, in our opinion, the best way of financing.”

About Iribov

Iribov was founded in 1992 by Evelien Huis in ‘t Veld and Eloy Boon in the city of Bovenkarspel. The first project was to make virus free Iris plantlets from tissue culture. This proofed successful and Iribov opened her first laboratory in Enkhuizen.

In 2007, Iribov moved to Heerhugowaard, adding greenhouses for hardening tissue culture plants and for plant breeding support projects.

In 2011 Iribov acquired SBW, one of the founding companies in tissue culture and the market leader in tissue culture production in the Netherlands.  Iribov has three locations and laboratories in Ghana, Macedonia, and Roelofarendsveen.

In 2021 a large extension of the Macedonian lab was realised.

The demand of hardened plants keeps growing and a second greenhouse facility of 25.000 m2 in Heerhugowaard was acquired in 2022.

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Martijn Braaksma Senior Investment Manager SME & Mid Corporates
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