Oikocredit invests in organic agriculture in Egypt
Oikocredit made its first investment in Egypt recently, with a US$ 7 million convertible loan to SEKEM, an Egyptian company founded over 30 years ago by the Abouleish family.
SEKEM (“vitality from the sun”) is a leading example of a sustainable social enterprise, involved with farms on reclaimed desert land transformed with irrigation and composting into efficient organic food agriculture and processing operations, for both domestic and export markets.
After a very difficult year conditions are stabilizing in Egypt, and Oikocredit‘s investment will support SEKEM’s growth plans with revenues projected to grow in 2012 to $48 million. Funds will be used to implement delayed capital expenditure in areas such as:
- tea-packing machines
- gelatin capsule production line for the pharmaceutical plant
- additional land reclamation investments
SEKEM’s expansion will generate additional employment of about 250 jobs relative to the current employee base of 2,000 people.
In addition, each year SEKEM donates 10% of its profits to the SEKEM Development Foundation (SDF) to finance community projects, which serve educational, health and cultural development purposes. SDF runs a kindergarten and school for children with special needs, a vocational training centre and a medical centre. SEKEM employees benefit from these facilities and services for a fee proportional to their salary. The local community from surrounding villages also has access to these services.