Goodwell Investments led the round with participation from existing seed investors Global Partnerships and FINCA Ventures.
This investor capital will accelerate Good Nature Agro’s ability to build up essential value-add processing infrastructure in Central and Eastern Zambia, accelerate the growth of their full-farm extension services for smallholders and connect these farmers to large-scale agribusinesses and food processors seeking hassle-free sourcing as well as to further their seed breeding program.
A social enterprise, Good Nature Agro (“GNA”) partners with smallholder farmers to improve their productivity through soil-enriching legume farming and links them to high-value legume markets to move farmers firmly into the middle class.
Good Nature Agro farmers currently net 3 to 4 times as much as they earn for cash crops, like maize on the same land.
Legumes are valuable to farmers long-term because they increase soil fertility by replacing nitrogen used by other crops and they are resilient against climate change.
GNA plan to support 15,000 farmers in 2020 with vital extension services, customised input packages, financial planning and goal setting frameworks and guaranteed offtake contracts.
The company has developed an innovative sales and production model called Source.
Using the Source model, GNA first establishes agreements with food processing companies and large-scale agribusinesses that require speciality legume crop based on processing specifications and then contracts out-grower farmer networks to grow these legumes from specialised GNA seeds.
This linked contracting approach enables GNA to introduce larger groups of smallholder farmers to formal seed varieties which deliver better yields, more desirable characteristics, and higher prices.
Good Nature Agro was founded in 2014 by Carl Jensen, Sunday Silungwe and Kellan Hays.
The team founded Good Nature Agro with the goal to lift farmers out of poverty and into the middle class and so far they have proved that with training and holistic farm services, smallholder farmers can be seed multipliers and commodity growers of the highest-quality and attract premium prices in the market.
Carl Jensen, Co-founder and CEO, Good Nature Agro said “We believe that every farm – regardless of size – deserves a partner who sees enough value in their capacity and their dreams to engage with them as individuals and families. Our focus on personal advice and service delivery to farmers even as we scale is the key to our social impact and our momentum. Sunday, Kellan, and I are incredibly proud of what the GNA team has accomplished since 2014, but the best is yet to come. With this investment, we are entering a new phase of rapid growth driven by global value chains and superior service to our suppliers and customers.”
GNA’s focus on legumes creates long-term positive change for Zambian soils, increases access to more nutritious foods, and builds strategic linkages to regional and global markets for rural smallholders.
“We believe that every farm – regardless of size – deserves a partner who sees enough value in their capacity and their dreams to engage with them as individuals and families. Our focus on personal advice and service delivery to farmers even as we scale is the key to our social impact and our momentum”
Carl Jensen – CEO, Good Nature Agro
On her side, Mercy Zulu, Investment Associate, Goodwell Investments said “Agriculture in Zambia and Southern Africa, much like the rest of the continent has an enormous social and economic footprint. However, the region’s full agricultural potential remains largely untapped due to supply chain challenges and low processing capacity. Through its business model and exceptional team, Good Nature Agro is addressing many of these issues by providing access to credit, inputs, critical technical services, and market linkages in a way that benefits smallholder farmers and promotes sector growth. This makes the company a good fit for uMunthu’s inclusive agribusiness strategy. We are excited that our investment will support the next phase of the company’s growth, and we look forward to working with the team on this journey.”
Melissa Tickle, Investment Associate of FINCA Ventures added “Good Nature Agro is creating a new model for seeds sales in the African market by cultivating new product demand and disrupting the predominant system of agricultural activities, which are modelled on the maize value chain. Further, the GNA team has proven they can triple farmer incomes in 24-months, bringing their growers into the middle class and helping them to achieve their financial goals through providing predictable and well-documented cash flows.”