Agricorp International raises $ 17.5 million to become Africa’s largest spice exporting startup – The Sun Nigeria

Through Chinyere Anyanwu

Agricorp A Nigeria-based international spice production, processing and export company has raised $ 17.5 million in Series A financing to increase its processing capacity to 7,000 metric tonnes per year. This fund was raised from Vami Nigeria, One Capital LLC and AFEX. Nigeria-based Vami led the round with $ 11.5 million in equity, while other investors provided working capital funding for the company. Ernst & Young (Nigeria) acted as transaction advisers while Elisio Law Office and Pavestone Legal acted as legal advisers.

Founded in 2018 by Kenneth Obiajulu and Wale Omotimirin, Agricorp helps meet the growing demand for spices as an export material. Data from the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture shows that despite being the world’s third-largest exporter of ginger, Nigeria’s ginger production is estimated at 31 million tonnes while demand is estimated at 65 million tonnes, leaving a gap of 34 million tonnes. While Nigeria accounts for over 16 percent of global ginger production, it obtains less than 4 percent of the export market share.

Agricorp CEO Kenneth Obiajulu said, “We believe that by increasing our capacity to 7,000 MT, we will maximize the potential to increase Nigeria’s foreign exchange income through export, contribute our quota to the export. improvement of Nigeria’s agricultural GDP and will serve as a model worthy of the name. to young Africans who aspire to become agribusiness owners. We want to show them that it is possible and very rewarding too.

According to lead investors, Vami Nigeria, “We led the round because we saw a clear growth trajectory, strong social impact, excellent financial trajectory and global collaborations with key partners. Most importantly, the depth of knowledge, passion and resilience of the team is unmatched.

AFEX Managing Director Samirah Ade-Adebiyi said, “Our other companies have done deals with Agricorp on a number of occasions and have seen the business grow over time. Now, we’re committed to providing the working capital they need to scale their operations at all levels. “

Since launching in Nigeria in November 2018, Agricorp has supported more than 5,000 smallholder farmers with inputs and training in good agronomic practices. It has built a 0.5 MT / hour spice processing plant in Kaduna, Nigeria, which manufactures value-added products for the export market. It also used its proprietary technology, Farmbase, to register, group and pay farmers for the products sold.

In a market where farmers are largely undocumented and bankless, Agricorp brings together data that can help provide detailed analysis to stakeholders (i.e. government, agribusiness, private companies and donor organizations, between others) to make informed farming decisions. It also helps in the traceability of all the activities of the farmers, from the need for agricultural inputs to the disbursement, including the sale of the products and, possibly, the payment. Financial institutions may also use this information to provide loans, credit facilities, and insurance to interested parties.

Obiajulu noted that he will take a bold approach to put Nigeria on the radar for global exports by leveraging investments to build simple processing systems for spices and other agricultural products, adding that Agricorp aims to be that bold enterprise. at the forefront of improving global food systems. .

Obiajulu said Agricorp’s relationship with its host communities is central to the company’s success.

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