Nigerian spice exporter Agricorp gets US$17.5m from Vami, AFEX, One Capital for expansion

NIGERIA – Agricorp International, Nigerian based spices producing, processing, and exporting startup has raised US$17.5 million in Series A funding led by Vami Nigeria with US$11.5 million in equity.

The fundraising round also attracted the participation of Nigeria’s leading commodity trader – AFEX, alongside One Capital LLC, who provided working capital financing for the company.

The investment, according to Agricorp will be channelled towards expanding its processing capacity to 7,000 metric tonnes, set up regional sales operations in South Africa and East Africa, acquire certifications for food safety and hygiene, increase staff strength to meet growing demand, and improve marketing efforts.

Vami Nigeria, lead investors, “We led the round because we saw a clear growth path, 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 unrivaled.”

Samirah Ade-Adebiyi, Managing Director at AFEX, reiterated saying, “Our other businesses have transacted with Agricorp on several occasions and have seen the business grow over time. Now, we are committed to providing the working capital they require to scale their operations at any level.”

Founded in 2018 by Kenneth Obiajulu and Wale Omotimirin, Agricorp is contributing to meeting the growing demand of spices as an export material.

The company has so far supported over 5,000 smallholder farmers with inputs and training on good agronomic practices, and built a 0.5MT/hour spice processing plant in Kaduna that produces value-added products for the export market.

The startup has developed proprietary technology, Farmbase, that registers, aggregates, and pays farmers for produce sold.

In a market where farmers are largely undocumented and unbanked, Agricorp collates data that can help provide detailed analysis for stakeholders to make informed agricultural decisions, and also helps with traceability of all farmer activities from the need for farm input to disbursement to sales of products and, eventually, payment.

Financial institutions can also use this information to provide loans, credit facilities, and insurance to interested parties.

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Agricorp is now seeking greater scale and impact, and has therefore raised the US$17.5 million Series A round.

In 2020, the global spices market was valued at about US$12 billion and is expected to witness a 3.89% CAGR from 2020 to 2025, expanding its valuation to about US$14.5 billion by the end of 2025, indicates Statista.

Kenneth Obiajulu, CEO, Agricorp said, “We believe that by increasing our capacity to 7,000MT, we will maximise the potentials to boost Nigeria’s forex earnings through export, contribute our quota to improving the Nigerian GDP from agriculture, and serve as a worthy model to African youths who aspire to be agribusiness owners. We want to show them it is possible and very rewarding as well”.

Looking at one of Nigeria’s leading export spices, ginger, the country’s production is put at 31 million MT while demand is set at 65 million MT, leaving a gap of 34 million MT.

Data from Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture shows that Nigeria’s ginger accounts for more than 16% of the global production.

However, despite the West African country being the third highest exporter of ginger globally, it gets less than 4% of the export market share.

For Agricorp, it will take a bold approach to put Nigeria on the global export radar by leveraging investments to build simple processing systems for spices and other agro products.

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