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US$7mn boost to steer growth in aquaculture across Africa

Lake Harvest Group, an integrated aquaculture company from Africa, will receive a US$7mn investment from Aqua-Spark and Norfund, to contribute towards the growth of the company’s operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Uganda

The farm adopts best practices that include education and training programmes for staff as well as the sale of by products, antibiotic-free operations, and genetic improvement.

In addition to the financial backing, the fish distributor has attracted Aqua-Spark, the pioneer fund for sustainable aquaculture, as a new cornerstone investor.

With this investment, the fund joins African Century Group and Norfund as shareholders of Lake Harvest. Following its gain of long-term investors, African Development Bank has ceased its shareholding in the company.

“Aqua-Spark has a long-term investment approach towards sustainable aquaculture and, with its new fund, will focus on Africa in particular. “We look forward to working with the Aqua-Spark team and benefitting from both their knowledge and their ecosystem of sustainable aquaculture companies,” said James de la Fargue, CEO Lake Harvest, while speaking to Food Business Africa.

Myriad of support

According to the company, Aqua-Spark is launching a subsidiary fund focused on building infrastructure through vertically integrated farming platforms that support and stimulate out-grower programs to ignite the growth of a wider aquaculture sector, embedding it in local and regional African economies.

Lake Harvest is already established at a significant scale, which will accelerate the fund reaching its goals of Aqua-Spark Africa.

“We are excited to welcome Lake Harvest to our investment portfolio. We see ourselves as a committed partner and look forward to contributing to the future success of Lake Harvest and its people as well as the sustainable African aquaculture sector in general,” Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founder and managing partner Aqua-Spark said.

Aqua-Spark’s investment model is an ecosystem in which its company portfolios contribute collectively towards a more sustainable and accessible aquaculture industry.

The fund invests in aquaculture companies across the value chain — spanning farming operations, alternative feed ingredients, disease-battling technology, and consumer-facing aquaculture products.

In its latest report titled, An Introduction to Tilapia in Sub-Saharan Africa, Aqua-Spark has revealed that aquaculture has immense potential for growth.

With the growing population of Africa, there is an increase in demand for fish. Wild catch can’t be increased due to overexploitation and hence, aquaculture production must be accelerated to meet the growing need for protein.

According to Aqua-Spark’s analysis, tilapia could be the best solution, as it’s scalable, healthy, sustainable and affordable.