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Devenish invests cash and expertise in Kenyan agri-input company Sidai

11 April 2019

Devenish invests cash and expertise in Kenyan agri-input company Sidai

Sidai Africa Ltd, a social enterprise founded by Farm Africa, is set to grow following a $2.25 million (US) investment from leading agri-tech company Devenish.

Sidai aims to revolutionise the provision of crop and livestock services to pastoralists and farmers in rural Kenya. It runs a network of centres, often based in remote hard-to-reach areas, providing livestock and veterinary services, such as vaccines and artificial insemination, to pastoralists and high-quality crop inputs, like fertilisers, to farmers.

In Africa, 25% of livestock die each year because of preventable diseases. By improving access to livestock products and services, Sidai helps livestock keepers keep their herds healthy, which in turn increases incomes and households’ financial security.

In 2011, Farm Africa Enterprises set up Sidai, with Farm Africa’s former CEO Dr Christie Peacock as Chairman. With seed funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sidai and Farm Africa have grown a fledgling network of shops into a financially sustainable enterprise.

Sidai has established a network of over 100 company-owned and franchised agro-vet centres in Kenya and supplies more than 1,500 stockists, who equip over 300,000 farmers with quality inputs. The investment will enable Sidai to expand the network into new areas in Kenya and develop new own-brand products.

“The deal means better access to good quality agricultural inputs and veterinary services for some of the world’s most neglected and under-served farmers, more jobs in agribusinesses and, ultimately, more prosperous rural communities.” Nicolas Mounard, Chief Executive Officer, Farm Africa.

The deal, which went through on Tuesday 9 April, saw Devenish become Sidai’s largest shareholder. All of the money that Farm Africa receives from the sale will be ploughed back into Sidai Africa Ltd, accelerating the enterprise’s growth and development.

“Regardless of farm size or location, the challenge for farmers is to produce more, healthier food, whilst reducing pressure on the environment. Sharing knowledge and experience is key to this end, and what this partnership represents.” Owen Brennan, Chairman, Devenish.

The move not only represents an injection of cash but also industry knowledge and business acumen.

Devenish invests heavily in agricultural research, developing solutions to challenges facing food companies and livestock farmers around the globe.

The investment is part of Devenish’s ambitious long-term global growth plans. Peter Wallace, Executive Vice-Chairman of Devenish, said: “We’re thrilled to announce our investment in Sidai. As a business, we are particularly focused on sustainable farming and food production, and this new partnership will enable us to make a difference by improving the livelihood of small-scale farmers and pastoralists across Kenya.”

“Devenish works at the cutting-edge of commercial agricultural research. Their involvement is not only a validation of Sidai’s achievements to date but an opportunity to work with world-class experts in animal nutrition” Dr Christie Peacock, Founder and Chairman, Sidai Africa Ltd.