In line with Alternative Investments Africa (ALTVEST) long term strategy, ALTVEST has acquired a majority stake in YamBEEji Honey & Rice Products Private Limited Zambia (YamBEEji).
This transaction comes as a follow-through from discussions between the agro-firm and processor and marketer of rice dating back to December 2011. The agreement was signed on 1st of May 2012 in Lusaka by Tichaona Seremani (CEO of ALTVEST) and Chibbonta Chilala (CEO of YamBEEji).
Since 2006 YamBEEji has been supporting small-holder rice farmers to produce aromatic rice which is processed, packaged and branded at their Zambezi factory. Speaking from his base in Zambezi Chibbonta Chilala, a board member of the Zambia Rice Federation, said,”this is the way to go for the improvement of all in the value chain for rice.” In its start-up phase YamBEEji was supported by SNV, a not-for-profit development organization, and Agri-profocus, a partnership promoting farmer entrepreneurship in developing countries. In a sign of YamBEEji’s vibrancy, this transaction was facilitated by VC4Africa, a platform for African entrepreneurs and Investors.
ALTVEST manages a Mauritian domiciled agro-focused investment fund, through offices in London and Harare. The team behind ALTVEST is very international with a unique set of financial, management and execution skills, led by Tichaona Seremani and Stefano Benedikter backed by a superior Board of Advisors from across continents and industries. ALTVEST aims to contribute to the development of African agriculture through deploying inclusive financing and procurement to small-holder farmers while providing sustainable returns to their investors.
Going forward YamBEEji´s new strategy will significantly increase farmer-level productivity and therefore production processing plant through-put. The company has an enormous reputation with consumers because of the aroma and flavour of its rice. This new venture seeks to strengthen the out-grower base through-out the north-western province and meet the previously unmet demand for rice within Zambia and other SADC countries. ALTVEST will materially invest in YamBEEji, through fresh equity capital, working capital financing, machinery for further mechanisation and management support. With this investment, YamBEEji can now integrate 5,000 farmers and manage 30,000 hectares of farmland to become the centre of gravity for rice production in Zambia.
Stable political conditions, a flourishing Zambian economy and rising demand for rice provide a great potential for YamBEEJi and ALTVEST.