RWANDA – AgDevCo, UK based social impact investor with a focus on Africa’s agricultural sector has made a US$3.0 million follow-on mezzanine debt investment into Uzima Chicken Limited, a poultry company operating in Rwanda and Uganda.
The East African poultry farm produces and distributes Sasso breed chickens with the aim to create value for rural households by providing better quality meat and eggs for consumption and sale.
Uzima provides day-old chicks through a network of hundreds of small, independent distributors who rear the birds to six to eight weeks before selling them to smallholder farmers.
The improved Sasso breed is resistant to disease and can feed through scavenging, so excels in outdoor ‘backyard’ environments in sub-Saharan Africa thus can be managed through low-intensity practices.
The recent investment will provide Uzima with further capital to expand its production capacity, vertically integrate into poultry feed and widen its already significant impact reach across the Great Lakes region.
“AgDevCo backed us before our first chick was hatched in Rwanda. Now four years and some five million birds later we are pleased to be deepening our relationship with AgDevCo to drive further expansion.”David Ellis – Co-founder of Uzima Chicken
This is a second boost from AgDevCo who in 2017 injected US$3m of debt to support Uzima’s establishment in Rwanda.
The support gave the poultry farm operational funding to grow rapidly in its home country in line with the Government of Rwanda’s strategy to achieve poultry self-sufficiency.
“AgDevCo backed us before our first chick was hatched in Rwanda. Now four years and some five million birds later we are pleased to be deepening our relationship with AgDevCo to drive further expansion,” David Ellis, Co-founder of Uzima Chicken said.
From a brownfield site, the company has grown rapidly and now reaches customers in over 59,000 households and since 2019, AgDevCo’s Smallholder Development Unit has supported Uzima in expanding to Uganda, where it is rapidly scaling up its operations.
In addition to providing growth capital, AgDevCo has supported Uzima with technical assistance, including by recruiting and training a network of veterinary staff.
“We’re delighted with Uzima’s progress so far. The company is delivering higher incomes and better nutrition to tens of thousands of low-income households – and doing so profitably. As a long-term partner, we look forward to helping drive further growth and impact in the region,” Chris Isaac, Chief Investment Officer at AgDevCo, said.
AgDevCo was supported on this transaction by Trust Law Chambers in Rwanda and BLC Robert & Associates in Mauritius.
The specialist investor has backed other agriculture ventures in East Africa to include Pee Pee Tanzania Limited (PPTL), producer of grain storage bags in Tanzania; Nakifuma Farming, a pork company in Uganda; Minimex Limited, Rwanda’s maize milling firm; Africado, avocado company based in Tanzania; and Afrimac, macadamia processor and exporter in Kenya, among many others.
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