Vita Grain Group, which is backed by US $60 million of funding, owns more than 20 different strains of hybrid rice seeds. Vita Grain is looking for funding to expand its seed production beyond Africa to Asia, the US and South America. The company is also setting up a rice mill in Mauritius and is in talks with partners in Botswana, Madagascar and Mozambique to develop rice production units.
Private equity used to stay away from anything to do with agriculture, put off by the uncontrollable risks of bad climate and natural disasters. And yet in the last three years some big funds have been launched in the agribusiness space, and they are busy trying different ways of mitigating the risks.