SEAF Invests in The Great African Food Company in Tanzania

SEAF Invests in The Great African Food Company – GAFCo – in Tanzania

Investment support the expansion of GAFCo in Tanzania

August 18, 2017
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA – Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (“SEAF”), a global impact investment manager, has invested in The Great African Food Company, Ltd (“GAFCo” or “the Company”). Through its Tanzanian subsidiary, the Company exports beans and sunflower/safflower oils, and has future plans for fresh vegetables, supplied by smallholder farmers in Tanzania. The investment will support the Company’s expansion plans within Tanzania as well as an expansion into organic pulses and horticulture crops.

GAFco farmer at work

GAFco farmer in Tanzania

Approximately 9,000 smallholder farmers across 32,000 acres are currently under contract with GAFCo. The Company expects to work with at least 15,000 farmers within the next two years, and projects that it will more than double its production capacity. Through the Company’s contract farmer program, smallholder farmers know before planting that GAFCo will buy their crops at harvest. In addition to serving as an off-taker, GAFCo also provides farmers with access to working capital, improved inputs, farming equipment, multi-peril insurance, and training on agricultural best practices.

SEAF’s funds are provided in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), through the Food for Progress program. The Food for Progress program helps developing countries and emerging democracies modernize and strengthen their agricultural sectors. The program has two principal objectives: to improve agricultural productivity and to expand trade of agricultural products.

SEAF was able to leverage USDA funding to attract additional outside capital for GAFCo. The additional capital will be invested in the Company via the SEAF Flex Managed Account , a SEAF vehicle focused on targeted investments across SEAF’s network. To help support the investment, SEAF’s CEO and Chairman, Hubertus van der Vaart, will serve as a member of GAFCo’s Board of Directors.

“The integration of smallholder farmers into the value chains in which we operate is the centerpiece of our company. We empower farmers and improve their children’s livelihood by providing access to inputs, financing, insurance, training and markets”, says Sherrie Woodring, CEO of GAFCo. “Our investors, including SEAF, share our mission to build a sustainable company that counts improving the lives of thousands of farmers as a core component of its business model.”

The global market for pulses, a significant export crop for GAFCo, is estimated to be approximately 70 million MT per year and developing countries supply approximately 30 percent of pulses to Europe. Meanwhile, the retail market in Europe for organic horticulture products doubled from 2005 to 2014 to €24 billion at a CAGR of 8%. Tanzania is in a strong position to leverage this growing global demand. The country has 44 million hectares of arable land, of which only 23% is currently under cultivation. Agriculture accounts for 30% of Tanzania’s GDP, with 68% of its population (53 million people) employed by the sector.

“We’re excited to support GAFCo’s growth in Tanzania”, says Ezra Musoke, Managing Director of SEAF’s Tanzania office. “For more than a decade, the Company has built an inclusive business model with smallholder farmers at its core, resulting in tangible impact on the lives of thousands of Tanzanian farmers. The Company is now at a point where it’s ready to scale up by penetrating other parts of Tanzania while expanding its product portfolio, and we’re looking forward to being a part of that process.”

Having invested in more than 100 food and agribusinesses companies globally, of which 30 have focused on agricultural products, SEAF will leverage its extensive experience in the sector to provide GAFCo with technical assistance as well as support for its farmer recruitment and training activities in order to help the company successfully scale its operations.

 
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About the Great African Food Company, Ltd
The Great African Food Company (GAFCo) is a mission driven “for-profit” organization founded to sustainably benefit smallholder farmers and the environment. Our business-centric approach to provide long-term sustainable solutions contrasts the short-comings of traditional development models. Quality Food Products, a GAFCo subsidiary, was established in 2002 and works to enable small and medium scale farmers in Tanzania uplift their agricultural yields, profits and livelihoods by offering access to quality inputs, Conservation Agriculture services and stable markets. http://www.greatafricanfood.com/
About SEAF
SEAF is an SEC registered, impact investment fund manager, investing risk capital and providing business support to growth-oriented SMEs in frontier and emerging markets. Having made more than $630 million in SME investments across a wide range of sectors, SEAF funds seek to deliver both financial returns and social and environmental impact for investors. SEAF, which is based in Washington, D.C., has managed 36 investment funds and vehicles over 28 years and across 31 countries. SEAF also operates the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development – CEED – an entrepreneur-focused program that provides advisory, mentoring, and networking opportunities across 14 global locations. www.seaf.com and www.ceed-global.org.
For more information on SEAF and SEAF Kasi Agriventures, please contact Robert Vodicka at rvodicka@seaf.com or +1-202-567-2499