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Dutch investor backs African tilapia sector

Economics Tilapia / Cichlids +2 more

DOB Equity has announced plans to invest in Victory Farms, one of East Africa’s largest tilapia producers, to allow the firm to scale up production and increase its sales in the Kenyan market.

Victory Farms aims to produce 60,000 tonnes of tilapia a year by 2025

© DOB Equity

By investing in Victory Farms, the Dutch private equity fund aims to cash in on a slice of the estimated $500 million Kenyan fish market.

Established in 2015, Victory supplies tilapia for the Nairobi market. It aims to become the world’s first carbon neutral fish farm and has ambitious growth plans to provide affordable, accessible and healthy protein to millions of people in East Africa.

Earlier in the year it received a loan from Conservation International Ventures, in order to help fulfil its plans to produce 60,000 tonnes of tilapia a year by 2025.

Victory Farms is a vertically integrated aquaculture business, owning hatchery ponds, deep water cages, a processing plant and cold chain distribution. The company has 20 branches in Nairobi, selling to hundreds of local food markets, who go on to sell the fish through their own business.

DOB Equity explains that protein consumption in East Africa is on the increase and fish in particular, is a healthy source of protein with a better environmental footprint than other meats. Unfortunately, wild catch in Lake Victoria has reached its limits and in Kenya, tilapia stock is 80 percent lower than twenty years ago. This supply deficit is currently being filled by lower quality imports from China.

Hayo Afman, co-CEO of DOB Equity, comments: “Our latest deal in the East African aquaculture sector will allow Victory Farms to meet the increasing demand for protein, driven by population growth and increased disposable income.”

Victory Farms’ managing director, Joe Rehmann, says: “The entry of DOB Equity will help to further boost the firm’s efforts to expand while helping them reach their goal of becoming the most sustainable fish farm on the planet.”

“DOB Equity’s investment has come at a crucial time for Victory Farms, we are on track to sell 30 tonnes of fish per day, the equivalent of more than 20 million high-protein meals per year.”

“We are thrilled to have partnered with DOB Equity, who share our vision of fostering social development by delivering safe and affordable food to the mass market in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Bon Tjeenk Willink, investment manager at DOB Equity, says: “Kenyan consumption of fish is only one fifth of per capita global consumption and less than half of Africa’s average. By partnering with Victory Farms, they will be able to fill Kenya’s supply gap, which we look forward to helping the company achieve.”