Cargill Inc. will invest $200 million in Pakistan over the next several years to build out the company’s supply chain there and harness growing demand for chicken throughout the region.
This marks a substantial expansion for the Minnetonka-based agribusiness — the world’s largest — which has run a small operation in Pakistan since the early 1980s. It’s also the company’s latest in a rapid series of investments throughout Asia, and specifically in the south and southeast parts of the continent.
Cargill currently has cotton, sugar, metals and animal feed business interests, as well as oil-crushing facilities, in Pakistan, but will scale up its legacy grain-trading business there over the next three to five years. Cargill did not provide additional details on what those operations will entail, but the company said it will increase its employee base beyond the modest 50 people currently working in the country.
“Finalizing one of our first investments in the agricultural supply chain in Pakistan is our top priority,” Imran Nasrullah, head of Cargill Pakistan, said in a statement. “We have received a very positive response from the Pakistani government and we value their support as we expand our presence here.”
Cargill’s investment will expand its dairy and meat business in Pakistan and deepen its focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Marcel Smits, the company’s former chief financial officer, was given a newly created role — head of Asia Pacific — in October amid a major executive reshuffle.
The company said Smits’ role was to “lead Cargill’s accelerated growth plan in the Asia Pacific region, a high-potential market for the company and its customers.” One month later, the company announced several multimillion-dollar investments in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.
South and Southeast Asia hold some of the greatest growth potential in chicken, according to a recent Rabobank analysis.
Cargill is also growing its chicken business in another growth region: Central and South America. Cargill acquired Campollo in late 2018, less than a year after it acquired Pollos Bucanero, both Colombia-based chicken companies.
The office of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan applauded Cargill’s investment. The news comes as Pakistan attempts to attract foreign investment to stabilize and grow its economy.