The 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 have been declining; as a result of which, 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.
Founded in 2015, Victory Farms operates as a vertically integrated business, with its own hatchery, nursery ponds and deep-water cages in Lake Victoria, as well as a processing plant and a distribution network, comprising 45 wholly-owned retail locations. Victory Farms’ main customers are several thousand market women, who buy fish in small batches from its various outlets, before cooking and selling them in local food markets.
The company sells 1.5 million fresh fish per month, which is 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,” he added.
Victory Farms’ co-founder and CEO, Joseph Rehmann, said, “Their long-term funding will be 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.