IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will lend US$10 million to SolTuna Limited, a tuna processor located in Solomon Islands, to support expansion of capacity and enable the local economy to benefit more from the income generated by the tuna industry.

It is IFC’s first investment in a wild-catch fishery in 15 years.

The financing will enable SolTuna to upgrade its processing facility located in Noro, Western Province, add cold storage capacity, and construct improved housing for workers. It will also fund improvements to the wharf and the waste-water treatment plant, both damaged during a tsunami in 2007.

“Solomon Islands is losing out when it comes to tuna,” said Adrian Wickham, SolTuna’s Managing Director. “SolTuna’s expansion will enable more of the processing to be done domestically and create more local jobs.”

Over 75 percent of employment in Solomon Islands is in subsistence agriculture and in the informal economy. The company now employs about 1,500 people with almost two-thirds women, and it expects to add 500 more jobs over the next five years.

Solomon Islands is an important supplier of tuna, however, three-quarters of the catch is taken by foreign boats under licensing agreements and processed in other countries.

“Small and remote island nations face huge challenges in economic development and from climate change,” said Vipul Prakash, IFC Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services in East and South Asia. “A sustainably managed fishing industry will contribute more jobs, more food, and much needed tax revenues for Solomon Islands, a country where almost one in four people live in poverty.”

IFC Advisory Services is exploring potential projects in Solomon Islands and other countries in the Pacific region with a goal of helping them benefit more from their tuna fisheries while promoting the sustainable management of their tuna resource. IFC Advisory Services is also considering a project to help more small businesses benefit from the fishing industry.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Soltuna
SolTuna is a Solomon Islands based tuna company operating a large-scale tuna processing plant in Noro, Western Province. SolTuna employs over 1,500 workers, the majority of whom are women, at its production facilities. The company produces canned tuna for the Solomon Islands domestic market and exports tuna products to regional markets in the South Pacific and to Europe. Its famous brands include Solomon Blue and Chili Tuna. SolTuna is owned by National Provident Fund of Solomon Islands, Western Province Executive, Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands and Tri Marine.