AppHarvest secures US$75m investment from Rabobank as AAK signs US$476m sustainability linked credit facility

US – AppHarvest, a leading AgTech specializing in the development of high-tech indoor farms, has secured US$75 million from Rabo AgriFinance, a subsidiary of Rabobank.  According to a statement from the Kentucky based company, the funds will be used to fuel expansion of its rapidly growing network of high-tech controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facilities in Central Appalachia.   AppHarvest  builds some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms that grow non-GMO, chemical pesticide-free produce.  The company says its farms use up to 90% less water than open-field agriculture and only recycled rainwater while producing yields up to 30 times that…

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Kroger upbeat about 2021 fiscal year following an exceptional first quarter

US – American retail company Kroger has raised its annual forecast for 2021 after an exceptional first quarter that saw the company surpass its own guidance and Wall Street’s expectations.  Revenue for the Cincinnati based company came in above pre-pandemic levels at US$41.3 billion, surpassing the US$39.78 billion estimate that had been predicted by financial analysts.  To inject fresh energy to a struggling business, Kroger executives propped up the company’s online grocery business, expanding its grocery pick up service to 2,233 stores and increasing its delivery ability to 2,488 stores reaching 98% of its customers.  A partnership with Uk-based…

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Arla to invest in new modern dairy farm in Nigeria to boost milk production

NIGERIA – Arla Foods, one of the largest dairy cooperatives in Europe, has announced plans to build a new commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria, in an effort to support local milk production in the country.  Located in Kaduna State, the 200-hectare farm will house 400 dairy cows, modern milking parlours and technology, grassland, as well as living facilities for 25 employees. The dairy cooperative has said it will train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers to improve milk yields and quality, animal welfare and farm profitability. The…

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Mighty Craft to become Australia’s largest craft spirit producer following 3 major acquisitions

AUSTRALIA – Mighty Craft, a craft drinks accelerator, is on its way to becoming Australia’s largest craft spirit producer, following the acquisition of three south Australian craft beverage businesses – Adelaide Hills Distillery, Mismatch Brewing, and Hills Cider. Mighty Craft is reported to have spent AUD 47 million (approx. US$36 million) in the venture which it says will enable it to transform into a scaled alcohol producer, wholesaler and retailer. Apart from the distilleries, the deal also includes a 75% ownership stake in the Lot 100 venue – a destination…

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Plant-based foods startup Motif FoodWorks raises US$226m in Series B funding round

US – Motif FoodWorks, a fast-growing food startup spun out of Ginkgo Bioworks in 2019, has raised US$226 million in a series B funding round led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board participated in the seed funding round through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP). Other participators in the round included AiiM Partners, Wittington Ventures, Rethink Food, Rage Capital and Rellevant Partners. Existing investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, CPT Capital, General Atlantic, Louis Dreyfus Company and Viking Global…

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Vital Capital Impact Relief Facility backs Kenyan macadamia nuts producer Privamnuts

KENYA – Kenyan producer and exporter of macadamia nuts, Privamnuts, has received an undisclosed amount of financing from Vital Capital, an Africa focused pioneering impact investor. Vital Capital issued the loan to Privamnuts, through its Vital Impact Relief Facility (VIRF), which was launched last year to help fundamentally sound African businesses navigate short-term challenges. Privamnuts, which sources its nuts from the slopes of Mount Kenya, provides a key link between the more than 10,000 smallholder farmers who represent its exclusive suppliers and the export markets, where Kenya is the third-largest…

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Food-tech startup Kune Food readies to serve Kenyans healthy, affordable meals following closure of US$1m pre-seed funding

KENYA – Kune Food, a Kenyan based cloud kitchen concept operator is set to officially launch its on-demand delivery service and avail freshly made meals to consumers in August, following the successful completion of its pre-seed funding round. According to reports by Disrupt Africa, the food-tech company has closed a pre-seed funding round worth US$1 million to help it scale after a successful pilot, selling more than 500 meals in one month. Kune will use about 10% of the total investment to finalize on the establishment of its factory and…

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Ghanaian horticulture exporter Maphlix Trust receives financing from Impact investor AV Ventures

GHANA – Maphlix Trust Ghana Limited, a leading producer and exporter of fresh vegetables, roots, tubers, and fruits in Ghana, has clinched a US$700,000 long-term loan from ACDI/VOCA’s financing arm AV Ventures. ACDI/VOCA is U.S. Government’s implementing partner and responds to non-USG official development assistance (ODA) and host country government opportunities, to foster broad-based economic growth, raise living standards, and create vibrant communities. The financing will enable Maphlix acquire new farming equipment that will mechanize production activities, as part of efforts to modernize production for enhanced operational efficiencies. It will…

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French Malteries Soufflet cuts ribbon to its first African malting house in Ethiopia

ETHIOPIA – The Soufflet Group, a French agri-food company, through its malting division, Malteries Soufflet, has officially launched its new processing factory in Ethiopia. Construction of the plant started in March 2019, with its first production test undertaken in the beginning of the year, and is now in continuous production. The IFC, a subsidiary of the World Bank, was the financial partner in the industrial project and continues to support the group in the development of barley cultivation via the NGO EUCORD (European Cooperative for Rural Development). The new Addis…

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South African packaging manufacturers Consol, Mpact expand production capacities to meet demand

SOUTH AFRICA – South African glass packaging manufacturer, Consol Glass is set to re-embark on its R1.5 billion (US$106.69m) investment in a new factory which was indefinitely put on hold last year, due to the reduction in demand for glass products driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and government’s ban on the sale of alcohol. The glass maker has revealed that it is reviewing the decision after production and the sale of glass bottles returned to pre-Covid levels. To this end, CEO Mike Arnold told Business Live, that the company is…

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