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First Farmer-led Company in India raises Capital from Group of European Investors
India is a country with an aspirational, young population (74% of the population is younger than 45 years) focused on enriching their lives through hard work and entrepreneurship. At the same time, the country faces challenges like inequality (gender, education, family wealth), outdated technology, inefficient supply chains, and lack of access to capital. The country is witnessing a strong movement towards entrepreneurship to help solve these multidimensional problems the country faces.
Sahyadri Farms is a good example of rural entrepreneurship providing end to end solutions to small and marginal farmers.
In 2010 a group of 10 farmers took the initiative to collectively produce and export fresh grapes to Europe. That initiative has grown into the leading fruits and vegetable export and processing company that Sahyadri Farms is today, servicing over 18,000 farmers, covering more than 31,000 acres and 9 crops. The company walks with its farmers from their choice of crops to the farming practices they employ, from the inputs they use to how they harvest and sell their agricultural products. The company for example offers a digital platform that informs farmers on high yield crop varieties, farm inputs, real time climate information and access to the market place.
The economic and social impact of Sahyadri Farms for these farmers is significant. Namdeo Pawar is one of them: “In 2012, I was on the verge of selling my land. Sahyadri Farms supported me, helped me get back up, and I pushed myself to return to work. Trough Sahyadri Farms, my income increased. In 2014, I even repaid my bank loan.” Also for farmer Anil Dawre working with Sahyadri Farms brought about a turnaround: “I farm on less than one acre, because a part of my land is taken up by my home and an animal shed. Group farming turned out to be a success. My parents never imagined their son’s produce would travel abroad. Their joy knows no bounds.”
The capital coming from Korys, FMO, Proparco and Incofin is intended to further grow the farmers company. Sahyadri Farms wants to expand its processing capacity for fruits and vegetables-based products, set up a biomass plant to generate electricity from process waste and enhance its infrastructure, like packhouses.
“The idea of Sahyadri Farms is to unite farmers and make them think like professional entrepreneurs. We are building a sustainable, scalable, and profitable organization for all our stakeholders by making farming profitable and viable activity for each small and marginal farmer.” – Vilas Shinde, founding farmer and Managing Director of Sahyadri Farms.
Alpen Capital acted as exclusive strategic advisor to Sahyadri Farms for this transaction.
Rahul Rai, Partner at Incofin India: “Incofin feels privileged to lead this investor consortium and its partnership with Sahyadri Farms to support its spread as a global role model of a partnership-based approach to farming that results in sustainable financial impact, climate change adaptation and inclusive growth in rural communities while creating a technology-driven, globally competitive business.”
“The investment in Sahyadri Farms is perfectly in line with our investment strategy and philosophy,” adds Katti Van Oosterwijck, Senior Investment Manager at Korys. “We strongly believe in the importance of making the food value chain more sustainable and ethical. As such, we are very proud that we have invested in Sahyadri Farms: they stimulate their network of more than 18,000 small-landholding farms to build an entrepreneurial mindset and ensure that a fair compensation for their produce and labour is received. In doing so, they adhere to the most stringent global standards of agricultural practices and provide the highest value to the end consumer.”
Michael Jongeneel, CEO of FMO: ”We are very happy to have found a long-term partner in Sahyadri Farms to support smallholder farmers in India. We are impressed by Sahyadri Farms’ ability to identify and deliver exactly the help farmers need to make their business flourish. We expect this first international equity investment in a farmer-led organization in India to help Sahyadri Farms reach even more farmers and set a blueprint for further growth in the industry.’’
Françoise Lombard, CEO of Proparco: “Proparco is proud to become a shareholder of Sahyadri Farms, one of the largest players in the Indian fruit and vegetable sector, alongside Incofin, Korys and FMO. This investment in a leading Indian agricultural company committed to a responsible approach will generate many positive social and environmental impacts. First, nearly 15,000 farmers will be able to enter a modern supply chain, with access to regenerative farming practices and quality equipment, enabling them to increase yields and quality of their production, while reducing farm losses and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Thanks to this investment, Sahyadri Farms will be able to implement concrete measures to adapt to climate change, but also to mitigate it by increasing its share of renewable energy production to more than 50%, and finally, to implement its zero waste policy”.
About Incofin Investment Management
Incofin is an independent emerging markets focused impact investment fund manager, focused on financial inclusion, the agri-food value chain and safe drinking water, driven by a purpose to promote inclusive progress. Incofin IM is an AIFM licensed fund manager and has over EUR 1 billion in assets under management. Incofin has a team of more than 80 professionals spread over its headquarters in Belgium and local investment teams in India, Colombia, Kenya and Cambodia.
As a leading impact investment firm, Incofin has invested (via equity and debt financing) over EUR 2.7 billion in more than 320 investees, financial institutions and SMEs in the agri-food value chain, across 65 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.
For more information: please visit: www.incofin.com
Korys is the investment company of the Colruyt family. Today, it has more than EUR 4.5 billion of assets under management. Besides holding a significant participation in the Colruyt Group, a leading retail company in Belgium and France, it actively manages participations in privately held companies and in private equity funds. Korys has also set up proprietary funds to manage its portfolio of listed investments. Across its activities, Korys’ investment decisions are taken with a long-term perspective and on basis of strict economic (Profit), social (People) and ecological (Planet) criteria. Korys aims to create sustainable value in 3 major ecosystems: Life Sciences, Energy Transition and Conscious Consumer. To do this, Korys can count on a motivated team of 30 professionals based in Belgium and Luxemburg.
For more information: please visit: www.korys.be
FMO is the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a 50+ year proven track-record in empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With a total committed portfolio of EUR ~12 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector development banks globally.
For more information: please visit: www.fmo.nl
Proparco is the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group). It has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for over 40 years. Proparco provides funding and support to both businesses and financial institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle-East. Its action focuses on the key development sectors: infrastructure, mainly for renewable energies, agribusiness, financial institutions, health and education.
Its operations aim to strengthen the contribution of private players to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. To this end, Proparco finances companies, whose activity contributes to creating jobs and decent incomes, providing essential goods and services and combating climate change.
For a World in Common.
For more information: please visit: www.proparco.fr