UK-based social impact agribusiness investor AgDevCo is to put in a USD$3m of debt investment into one of Rwanda’s early stage poultry firms.
AgDevCo, which in July announced a $255,000 investment into Tanzanian poultry business, Kingchick Poultry, will provide Uzima Chicken Ltd with capital to reach a production capacity of 8-10 million chicks a year.
AgDevCo provides patient capital in the form of debt and equity to early-stage agribusinesses in sub-Saharan Africa and has a mission to reduce poverty and improve food security. Funded through the Department for International Development’s ISMAR programme, it is sponsored by Flow Equity, a US-based investor which has successfully developed a similar business model in Ethiopia.
Uzima sells day-old Sasso chicks through a network of independent distributors. The distributors rear the birds to 4 weeks using proper feeding and vaccination procedures before selling them to smallholder farmers.
The Sasso dual breed, which is ideal for rearing outdoors in backyard conditions, gains weight more quickly than local breeds and is 3-4 times more productive laying eggs.
Uzima has already created 150 jobs and will provide opportunities for up to 500 distributors to build profitable small businesses. It estimates that within 5 years 1 million smallholders in the region will benefit by earning up to $30-50 per household from egg and meat production.
Chris Isaac, AgDevCo regional director, said: “We believe Uzima chicken can transform the poultry market in Rwanda by delivering improved birds to hundreds of thousands of households. We have seen the model’s success in Ethiopia and we are confident that, with continuing support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Uzima is well-placed to replicate that success in Rwanda.”
Joseph Shields, Co-founder of Uzima Chicken, said he was delighted by AgDevCo’s investment in Rwanda which would help overcome the challenge of fund-raising for early-stage growth capital.
“AgDevCo’s technical support will be of great benefit over and above the investment itself. We are now able to focus our efforts on delivering our business plan, secure in the knowledge that we are fully financed.”