Finnfund invests $6 million to expand aquaculture in Zambia
Finnfund and FMO made the investment in an integrated tilapia aquaculture company, producing 12,000 tonnes of tilapia annually.
Finnfund, a Finnish development financier and impact investor, has invested $6 million in Yalelo Limited, an integrated tilapia aquaculture company in Zambia. In a statement released today, Finnfund said the equity investment will help in the expansion of aquaculture in the southern African country.
Yalelo is the largest aquaculture company in Africa, producing 12,000 tonnes of tilapia annually. With the investments from Finnfund and FMO – the Dutch development bank – Yalelo intends to expand its annual production to 25,000 tonnes. The investment is reportedly Finnfund’s first direct investment in Zambia.
According to the development finance institution (DFI), sustainable aquaculture will provide a solution to Zambia’s food security challenge, caused by rising population, together with overfishing. Tilapia is one of the most efficient sources of protein and has a much lower carbon footprint than, for example, beef or pork. In order to ensure sustainable resource use, Yalelo has implemented a continuous water quality monitoring and management system.
“The aquaculture sector can transform the availability and affordability of high-quality protein in a resource efficient and sustainable manner,” said Jari Matero, Finnfund’s Associate Director and Head of Agri and Forestry portfolio.
Besides producing affordable protein, Yalelo is providing direct and indirect employment opportunities in both the production site as well as its distribution network. This has a positive impact on the local economy. Currently, Yalelo employs over 800 people, with over 30 percent of the management being female. The company is working to deepen gender balance within its workforce. It also hopes to add another 200 jobs as a result of the investment.
“With this investment we will expand our capacity and respond to the need for affordable, high-quality protein”, said Adam Taylor, Chairman of Yalelo. “We take pride in providing our employees with jobs in a vulnerable rural area where few alternative employment opportunities exist.”
Yalelo operates an extensive internal training programme, including aquaculture, business and leadership courses. It also runs literacy and numeracy classes for the community where it operates. Yalelo plans to become the first Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-certified tilapia fish farm in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
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