Social impact investor working in the African agriculture sector, AgDevCo, has announced a multi-million-dollar mezzanine debt investment in Victory Farms, a rapidly growing aquaculture company in Kenya.
AgDevCo’s investment will support the company’s continued growth and impact, including the construction of a feed mill and expansion into new countries in the East Africa region.
For decades the wild catch from Africa’s Great Lakes has been declining, with the result that local markets rely on imported frozen fish, often of low quality. Victory Farms saw an opportunity to supply affordable protein to consumers in a more sustainable way by growing tilapia, a native species.
Victory Farms was founded in 2015. Today it operates as a vertically integrated business, with its own hatchery, nursery ponds and deep-water cages in Lake Victoria, plus a processing plant and a distribution network comprising 45 wholly-owned retail locations. Its direct customers are several thousand market women who buy fish in small batches from Victory Farms’ outlets, before cooking and selling them in local food markets.
The company is currently selling 1.5 million fresh fish per month, which are grown using the best aquaculture practices from around the globe, without antibiotics. Victory Farms takes great care to protect and restore local ecosystems, working continuously to improve biodiversity on both land and water. The company aims to be carbon negative by using sustainable feed inputs, installing solar power, and planting trees on degraded land.
“We are delighted to back Victory Farms’ ambition to be Africa’s leading producer of affordable and healthy protein”, said Chris Isaac, AgDevCo’s Chief Investment Officer. “We see huge potential for East Africa’s nascent aquaculture industry to grow and develop in a sustainable way, which should help relieve pressure on wild fish stocks”.
Victory Farms’ co-founder and Chief Executive Office, Joseph Rehmann, said: “We’re excited to begin this partnership with AgDevCo. Their long-term funding will more than double the size of our business. As we grow into new markets, and with AgDevCo’s backing, we remain committed to being at the vanguard of environmental and social progress in the global fish industry”.
With this transaction, AgDevCo becomes the largest investor in Victory Farms to date, alongside the founding shareholders and external investors DOB Equity, Msingi East Africa, Ceniarth, CIVF, MCE Social Capital and DEG.
AgDevCo was supported on this transaction by Law3Sixty and Kieti Law LLP in Kenya, Fieldfisher in The Netherlands and Charles Russell Speechlys in the UK. CrossBoundary Advisory provided commercial due diligence services under the United States Agency for International Development’s Kenya Investment Mechanism Program. Victory Farms received pro-bono legal advice from Sidley Austin LLP and financial modelling support from Open Capital Advisors.