ZAMBIA – Good Nature Agro (GNA), a Zambian social enterprise with focus in the legume value chain has raised US$2.1 million in a Series A equity funding round led by Goodwell Investments.

The funding round also saw participation of existing seed investors Global Partnerships and FINCA Ventures.

GNA partners with smallholder farmers to improve their productivity through soil-enriching legume farming and links them to high-value legume markets to move farmers firmly into the middle class.

“We believe that every farm – regardless of size – deserves a partner who sees enough value in their capacity and their dreams to engage with them as individuals and families.”

Carl Jensen – Co-founder and CEO of Good Nature Agro.

According Goodwell, the agro company will use the funds to build up essential value-add processing infrastructure in Central and Eastern Zambia and accelerate the growth of their full-farm extension services for smallholders.

In addition to that, it will enable them to connect the farmers to large-scale agribusinesses and food processors seeking hassle-free sourcing, as well as to further their seed breeding program.

“We believe that every farm – regardless of size – deserves a partner who sees enough value in their capacity and their dreams to engage with them as individuals and families.

“Our focus on personal advice and service delivery to farmers even as we scale is the key to our social impact and our momentum,” says Carl Jensen, Co-founder and CEO of Good Nature Agro.

“With this investment, we are entering a new phase of rapid growth driven by global value chains and superior service to our suppliers and customers,” he added.

GNA targets to support 15,000 farmers in 2020 with vital extension services, customised input packages, financial planning and goal setting frameworks, and guaranteed offtake contracts.

The company has developed an innovative sales and production model called Source.

Using the Source model, GNA first establishes agreements with food processing companies and large-scale agribusinesses that require speciality legume crop based on processing specifications and then contracts outgrower farmer networks to grow these legumes from specialised GNA seeds.

This linked contracting approach enables GNA to introduce larger groups of smallholder farmers to formal seed varieties which deliver better yields, more desirable characteristics, and higher prices.

Mercy Zulu, Investment Associate of Goodwell Investments stated, “Through its business model and exceptional team, Good Nature Agro is addressing many of these issues by providing access to credit, inputs, critical technical services, and market linkages in a way that benefits smallholder farmers and promotes sector growth.

“This makes the company a good fit for uMunthu’s inclusive agribusiness strategy. We are excited that our investment will support the next phase of the company’s growth, and we look forward to working with the team on this journey.”

Goodwell Investments is a pioneering impact investment firm focused on inclusive growth in sectors providing basic goods and services and income generation opportunities to underserved communities in Africa and India.

The other investor, FINCA Ventures is an impact investing initiative of FINCA International that leverages a global microfinance network to catalyse market-based solutions to poverty.

While, Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund (SVF) is an impact-first fund investing in early-stage social enterprises to expand opportunity for people living in poverty in Eastern Africa.

“We made an initial investment in Good Nature Agro in 2018, and since then they have consistently demonstrated their ability to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers through the provision of inputs, technical assistance, and market access,” said Jim Villanueva, Managing Director of the Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund.

“We are pleased to be participating in this Series A funding round, and we look forward to supporting GNA as they continue to strengthen their operation and scale their impact,” he concluded.

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