SIERRA LEONE – AgDevCo has entered into a US$3 million investment with Tradin Organic, a global organic ingredients supplier, to enhance organic cocoa sourcing in Sierra Leone.

The investment in Tradin Organic will allow sourcing of organic cocoa directly from certified small-holder farmers in the country linking them to manufacturers in Europe, the USA and Asia.

Tradin, which is a subsidiary of SunOpta, has had presence in Sierra Leone since 2017 and has successfully developed a network of trained buying agents ensuring traceable in the sector.

As AgDevCo’s first investment in Sierra Leone, the US$3 million revolving facility will allow Tradin to purchase cocoa at premium prices from up to 20,000 certified farmers.

The investment will also rejuvenate cocoa purchase operations in Kenema region which have been low since 2014 by opening up more international market access of the commodity.

Through this investment, Tradin and AgDevCo also seek to revitalise the entire cocoa sector in Sierra Leone where, despite enormous potential, cocoa export volumes have remained stagnant over the past decade.

With AgDevCo support, Tradin will also develop a network of farmer field schools to lift productivity by providing education on improved harvesting and fermenting techniques.

AgDevCo is a London headquartered impact investor specialising in agribusiness investments in Sub-Sahara Africa whose portfolio consists of investments in production, processing and distribution.

Last year, AgDevCo secured US$71 million from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to expand operations to Kenya and the Ivory Coast, in addition to the eight African countries where the organization currently invests.

Since its launch in 2009, AgDevCo has invested in more than 55 early-stage farming and agribusiness companies on the African continent.

Its investments include poultry ventures in Rwanda and Malawi; businesses creating agricultural export linkages in Zambia and Mozambique; and a hydro energy project that is powering a tea factory and nearby community in Tanzania.

Early this year, AgDevCo also announced a US$3 million investment into Minimex Limited, Rwanda’s leading maize milling firm, to expand the production capacity of the firm.

Since its establishment, AgDevCo’s capital and technical assistance has supported more than 7,500 jobs and 425,000 small farmers and hopes to expand its impact to four million people.