Oikocredit makes $2.5M investment in Zambian fish farm
Social investor and worldwide cooperative, Oikocredit, this week invested US$ 2.5 million in Yalelo Ltd, a sustainable aquaculture company in Zambia.
Yalelo farms tilapia in Lake Kariba which is then sold on to the local market through a network of predominantly female vendors.
The investment, in a mixture of common and preferred shares, will offer Oikocredit potential financial returns, as well as offering benefits for Zambians in the form of increased food security and employment.
Oikocredit equity manager, Stefan Harpe, said the company has good growth potential given the high unmet demand for local fresh fish, a resource that has been depleted by overfishing.
“The traditional diet has historically relied heavily on fish, mainly tilapia, as its primary source of protein,” explained Mr Harpe.
“Due to the country’s severe overfishing, the domestic market has had to rely on frozen imported fish to sustain the population. Yalelo has the potential to capture an increasing share of the domestic fish market and also grow regionally,” Mr Harpe said.
Yalelo CEO, Bryan McCoy, explained that Yalelo’s vision is to become the leading sustainable aquaculture company in Zambia and then to develop into a major regional fishery.
“We’re aiming to produce 8,000 tonnes, around 20 million fish, per year at full production in Zambia, and Oikocredit’s investment will enable us to move rapidly towards that target,” Mr McCoy said.
“We also see the potential to expand throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, as the regional markets show strong import-substitution and organic growth possibilities,” added Mr McCoy.
The fish company will also support the local soybean* industry, as tilapia fish thrive on this vegetable protein.
Yalelo currently provides full-time employment to 175 staff.
Oikocredit is a worldwide cooperative and social investor, providing funding to the microfinance sector, fair trade organizations, cooperatives and small to medium enterprises.
For more information about Yalelo, visit: www.yalelo.com