November 26, 2012
Phatisa’s SME fund backs West End Farms
Phatisa’s small-cap vehicle, the African Agriculture Fund (AAF) small and medium sized enterprise (SME) fund has sealed its first investment, backing Cameroon-based West End Farms.
The sub-fund is supplying the capital as a mixture of equity and mezzanine, which will go into expanding West End’s footprint across the country’s Nanga Eboko region. The fund manager has also been given the option of further investment, to develop more land across the region.
“West End Farms is an ideal candidate for our mandate to increase food security in Africa while partnering with strong committed management teams that are open to the value-add associated with private equity partners,” said Dennis Matangira, senior managing partner at Databank Agrifund Manager Limited (DAFML), which manages the fund.
The investor believes Cameroon’s natural resources are very well suited to agriculture, with an estimated 70% of the population being involved in farming. Agriculture comprised an estimated 19.8% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
West End will also receive a technical assistance from Farmsecure Agri Science, a South Africa-based agriculture advisory firm. The company has additionally recruited animal husbandry professionals from the Philippines.
West End is a mixed farming enterprise with farms and a cattle ranch across a number of locations in Cameroon. Set up over 30 years ago, the company is a significant supplier of poultry across the country. The farm uses land that is on a long-term lease from the local community, which is supported by the government.