BusinessDay
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Agricorp raises $17.5m to boost capacity for African expansion

Nigerian-based company Agricorp International, which specializes in producing, processing, and exporting spices has successfully raised $17.5 million in Series A funding, which will help boost its operations locally and globally.

The series A funding was led by Vami Nigeria with $11.5 million in equity, while the other two investors, One Capital LLC and AFEX provided working capital financing for the company.

Kenneth Obiajulu, co-founder and chief executive officer, Agricorp said the funding came in handy especially as it works on increasing its processing capacity to 7000 metric tonnes to boost its operations.

“We believe that by increasing our capacity to 7,000MT, we will maximize the potential 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,” he said.

He added that it will also help the company achieve its aim of building processes to enhance global food systems while becoming the largest spices export startup in Africa.

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Obiajulu told BusinessDay that the company leverages on technology to drive efficiency in its activities and processing systems which has helped expand its reach globally, adding that the company is planning to push its exports into Europe and America.

He also said that the company is making efforts to drive regional expansion on the back of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), seeing that it creates a lot of opportunities with a single market.

“Our regional expansion drive has had us traveling to other African countries to seek available opportunities where we can play a crucial role in building agricultural capacity. Every country in Africa has their crop of comparative advantage and we have to leverage on what we have learnt in Nigeria to develop a working operational model to use in other parts of Africa,” he said.

Speaking on the concerns around insecurity on their operations, he said the company prioritized its host community and developed a cooptation system where they look out for each other as partners. He affirmed the success of the model as he stated that the company has not recorded any incidence in the last 33 months.

Obiajulu added that the company also partners with security agencies and implemented a fully functional security protocol just like other businesses in the region and established a comprehensive insurance system.

Since its launch in Nigeria in November 2018, Agricorp has supported over 5,000 smallholder farmers with inputs and training on good agronomic practices. It has built a 0.5MT per hour spice processing plant in Kaduna, Nigeria that produces value-added products for the export market. It has also used its proprietary technology, Farmbase to register, aggregate, and pay farmers for produce sold.

Lead investor, Vami Nigeria, said it recognized a growing potential that will help the country boost its export profile, FX earnings, and agricultural productivity.

Samirah Ade-Adebiyi, Managing Director at AFEX, said as an investor, AFEX and its subsidiaries have partnered with Agricorp previously and have therefore remained committed to providing the working capital they require to scale their operations at any level.

Ernst & Young (Nigeria) served as transaction advisers while Elisio Law Office and Pavestone Legal served as legal advisers for the transaction.

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