AHL Venture Partners, a leading impact investment firm in East Africa, has today announced, acting as lead investor, an equity investment in a Kenyan company, Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services Limited (“Cropnuts”). The investment is a co-investment with DOB Equity.
Cropnuts is a leading independent, fully integrated, ISO 17025 accredited agricultural laboratory and agronomy services company in East Africa. They provide Centralised Laboratory testing (soil, water, plant and food safety), Mobile Soil Testing Platforms and agricultural advisory and feasibility services, to large, medium and smallholder farmers, as well as governments and agribusiness investors.
In Kenya, the agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder farming accounting for an estimated 75% of total output and 70% of the marketed agricultural produce. Most smallholder farmers lack access to inputs and knowledge, as well as access to finance for buying inputs.
Worldwide, it is estimated that only 5% of farmers have access to soil analysis and agricultural advisory services. A study conducted by International Fertilizer Development Centre shows that farmers can achieve up to a 2x increase in their yields through use of soil testing and adopting correct fertilizer recommendations, whilst ensuring environmental sustainability through adopting sound soil management practices.
By providing more accessible testing and advisory services, Cropnuts is poised to increase the productivity of SME and smallholder farmers, in line with their “grow more with less” value proposition.
The investment by AHL Venture Partners and DOB Equity will enable Cropnuts to fund its laboratory expansion plans and agronomy technology platform. Cropnuts’ Managing Director, Jeremy Cordingley, explains; “with the additional funding we can accelerate our growth to help more farmers in sub-Saharan Africa get the information and help they need to increase their yields.”
Rosanne Whalley, Partner at AHL Venture Partners, said: “We’re delighted to announce our investment in Cropnuts. Being a homegrown company with a 20-year track record in the market, we believe in their deep local and technical knowledge they have built up over the years. We see their diagnostic and advisory services, deployed through smart technology, as catalytic in improving food security and incomes for millions of smallholder farmers, as well as improving food safety standards.”
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