Investors Raise $143 Million Fund to Target Africa’s Food Supply

Private-equity fund manager Phatisa Group raised $143 million for Africa’s burgeoning agricultural sector to boost supply of food such as poultry and meat as demand on the continent grows.

Investors in the Phatisa Food Fund 2 LLC include a consortium comprising the U.K.’s CDC Group, Norfund AS, FinDev Canada, BIO and Finnfund that have contributed $82 million in joint commitments and commercial backers.

The fund seeks “to boost the supply of quality food in sub-Saharan Africa -- where an estimated 239 million people are affected by food insecurity,” according to a joint statement issued by Phatisa and the consortium.

Investment opportunities among small-holder farmers and entrepreneurs working in Africa’s food supply chain are being targeted, according to the statement. The fund is looking to address the affordability of farming products, resilience of crops, broadening market access and reducing food loss and waste by 50% in the companies it finances, the groups said in the statement.

“It’s great to see development finance institutions and commercial investors partnering to tackle one of Africa’s most pressing challenges,” said CDC’s head of private equity funds Clarisa De Franco. “Small-holder farmers account for 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population and the continent remains a net food importer,” she said.

The African Development Bank expects net food imports from the continent to grow to more than $110 billion by 2025, compared with $35 billion in 2015.

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