There is a rising demand for food in Kenya because of a rapidly growing population, increased effects of climate change and rising urbanisation. The country’s food production will, therefore, need to grow by 75% by 2030, according to the Institute of Security Studies.
This demand means that farmers in Kenya need to step up production, become more profitable and need the tools and knowledge to do that. The country’s current agricultural input market, according to Sidai Africa, is valued at $1 billion annually while the growing livestock industry, alone, is estimated to contribute $3.1billion to Kenya’s economy. The livestock population in Kenya is currently valued at US $4.4 billion and represents a vast potential market.
Sidai Africa is looking to tap into that massive market by building a fully vertically-integrated system that supplies “quality livestock and crop inputs and training to farmers and pastoralists across Kenya”.
The startup manufactures its own range of livestock products working through partnerships with livestock product manufacturers from across the globe. Once it receives the products, it then dispatches them to its stores, franchisees and other stockists. The goal of maintaining this network is to ensure that “farmers have access to quality products at all times.” However, Sidai recently introduced a motorbikes service which ensures that they also take care of the last mile delivery.
In the process of doing that, the startup has scored support from Devenish, a global farming and food company founded in 1952. Devenish has in return injected funding as part of a US $2.25 million investment into Sidai Africa’s Series A round. Though US $750,000 of that round came in as debt from Global Partnerships
In an email to Digest Africa, Dr Christie Peacock CBE - Sidai Africa’s founder, pointed out that the startup will use the funding to expand its distribution network as well as the range of products it offers.
“Devenish supplies Sidai with nutritional products and technical advice to ensure all Sidai’s feeds and mineral supplements are of a consistently high standard,” wrote Sidai Africa in their company press release. Adding that Devenish is “currently providing Sidai with strategic business advice, and nutritional and commercial expertise will provide a platform for growth”.
This is not the first round of equity investment that Sidai Africa is raising. “We have raised equity before from AHL Venture Partners,” Dr Christie noted. The other backer that they have had is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This investment from Devenish and Global Partnerships takes Sidai’s total funding - including debt and grants raised to date to US $20 million. “Sidai has raised a little over $20m in total, of which $9m has come from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and about $3m from AHL Venture Partners in both debt and equity,” wrote Dr Christie.
According to Sida Africa’s 2019 company profile, the company was founded in 2011 and currently has 11 stores, 87 franchisees, and sells through a further 1,500 stockists. It directly employs over 120 people and reaches over 300,000 farmers.