Dutch and Norwegian investors plough $7m into African tilapia farming group

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/neenawat
© GettyImages/neenawat

Related tags: tilapia, Africa, antibiotic-free

The Dutch sustainable aquaculture fund, Aqua-Spark, has invested, alongside NORFUND in the Lake Harvest Group, a leading African tilapia farming group.

One of the largest integrated tilapia operations in Sub-Saharan Africa, the investors said Lake Harvest has sustainable tilapia farming operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia (both in Lake Kariba) and Uganda (Lake Victoria) along with a distribution network in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Aqua-Spark, together with NORFUND, the Norwegian investment fund strengthening the private sector in developing countries, are investing US$7m in the growth of the group’s tilapia operations.

“With its own distribution network and processing plant as well as a locally embedded team with decades of experience, Lake Harvest is well-positioned for growth. In addition, the farm is mission-aligned—adopting best practices that include education and training programs for staff as well as the sale of byproducts, antibiotic-free operations, and genetic improvement,” ​said the investors.

Lake Harvest Zimbabwe employs over 460 people split between Lake Harvest Aquaculture, the fish farm in Kariba with 400 people and 60 employed by the distribution company throughout the country. The fish farm has two factories – a processing plant with 100 employees and a feed mill with 55 workers.

The group's operations in Zambia comprise 205 employees. 

Fund for Africa

Aqua-Spark previously announced it was launching a subsidiary fund​, valued at US$300m, to finance developments in sub-Saharan Africa. The fund is focused on building infrastructure through vertically integrated farming platforms that support and stimulate outgrower programs to ignite the growth of a wider aquaculture sector, embedding it in local and regional African economies.

“Together with Aqua-Spark's existing investments in Africa and farming investments still to come, Lake Harvest will function as one of the key platforms that Aqua-Spark Africa will help build.”

A report​, commissioned by Aqua-Spark and published in September last year, addressed why and how farmed tilapia can and should play an important role in solving sub-Saharan Africa's challenge to produce sufficient food for its growing population:

“By 2050, demand for fish is likely to reach between 16-29 million Mt per year. Due to overexploitation, wild catch can’t be increased, and thus won’t be able to meet the additional demand. Even if alternative proteins start playing a larger role, we at Aqua-Spark believe that aquaculture production will have to accelerate. We’ve identified tilapia to be the fish to do so: it’s scalable and it’s healthy, sustainable, and affordable.”

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