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Ugandan moringa farm, Raintree, gets UGX3.9bn Private Equity infusion from Pearl Capital Partners

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A young moringa plant at Raintree Farms. Raintree Farms is based in Masindi, and describes itself as an agri-ceutical enterprise specialising in the production and processing of organic moringa. The products are sold to the nutritional, beauty and health markets both here in Uganda and internationally.

Pearl Capital Partners (PCP), a specialist agriculture investment firm, through their Yield Uganda Investment Fund, has announced its fifth investment in Uganda by making a commitment to invest UGX3.9bn to Raintree Farms.

Raintree describes itself as an agri-ceutical enterprise specialising in the production and processing of organic moringa.

Raintree Farms is based in Masindi, Uganda and was co-founded in 2012 by the CEO, Mr Teddy Ruge and the COO Ms. Pamela Nyakato. The company’s business operation is centred around the growing and processing of moringa, in order to produce premium, organically certified moringa leaf powder and moringa oil.

The products are sold to the nutritional, beauty and health markets both here in Uganda and internationally.

In order to satisfy the increasing market demand for moringa products, Raintree has undergone rapid change since it started its operations, not only through the development of its own farm but most notably through the introduction of an innovative secure income program (SIP) for new-to-market smallholder moringa farmers.

A program which is designed to stabilise incomes and reward farmers for their commitment and application in the growing of moringa.

Raintree Farms Chief Executive Officer, Teddy Ruge (hands gesturing in the foreground) imparts some moringa growing skills to moringa farmers in a bid to ensure that farmers avoid mistakes the company has gone through. Yield Fund’s investment in Raintree will support expansion in a new processing and storage facility as well as provide automation, logistical and monitoring controls, all of which will drive the business forward as production and processing increases allowing it to buy from more farmers, thus directly and indirectly supporting the livelihoods of over 1,300 farmers throughout the course of its investment.

Edward Matsiko Isingoma, PCP Managing Partner, said, “Raintree marks Yield Fund’s fifth investment; continuing the Fund’s strategy of investing in growth opportunities which have the potential to deliver transformational financial and social impact.”

“Raintree holds a strong position in Uganda’s agri-ceutical economy, being one of the key organically certified moringa producers in Uganda. This clearly gives the company a competitive edge as it continues to establish itself in this rapidly growing nutritional and health product sector,” he said.

“We are confident our investment will support the business on this journey and will bring about real change and sustainability for both the company and the large community of smallholder farmers in Masindi. One of the key facets of Yield Fund Uganda is to introduce social impact alongside our investment and we feel that this is really being achieved here,” he added.

Doing well and doing good for the community

Raintree, through Yield Fund’s investment is projected to support over 1,300 farmers throughout the course of its investment.

Over the next three years, Yield Fund’s investment will support expansion in a new processing and storage facility as well as also providing automation, logistical and monitoring controls, all of which will drive the business forward as production and processing increases.

In tandem with Yield Fund’s investment, Raintree Farms has been successful in obtaining a Business Development Support (BDS) matching grant facility, managed by IFAD, to develop internal structures and practices as well as further develop the smallholder farmer community.

Teddy Ruge, founder and CEO of Raintree Farms, said, “Since our inception we’ve always had a belief that we could do well as a company while doing good in the community. We are very excited to partner with Yield Fund. The support will help us accelerate our growth and thereby the impact we can deliver alongside our success.”


Some moringa product by Kuli Kuli one of the leading moringa brands in the US and one of Raintree Farms’ buyers.

“On behalf of all our employees that keep us running, the farmers who provide us with quality raw materials, and the clients that trust us to deliver, we receive this investment with the greatest of gratitude. We look forward to continued growth and creating more opportunities for everyone in our community”.

Improving over 100,000 rural households’ livelihoods

The Yield Uganda Investment Fund is a partnership between public and private investors that offers innovative and tailored financial solutions, using equity, semi-equity and debt, to small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) having the potential to generate both strong financial returns and significant social impact. Deloitte Uganda and Pearl Capital Partners Uganda (PCP) established the Fund, currently managed by PCP Uganda, with the mandate to make investments in the range of €250,000 to €2 million (approx. UGX 1 billion to UGX 8.5 billion).

The agribusiness impact fund, set up in January 2017 by the European Union (EU), through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), with an initial €12 million investment, in June this year received a €8 million (UGX34 billion boost) from new funding partners; Open Society Foundations (OSF) and FCA Investments (FCAI), bringing to €20 million (UGX 85 billion) mark in total commitments.  

The Fund targets agriculture-related businesses across all value chains including supply of agricultural inputs, production and agro-processing within all sub-sectors, post-harvest storage and distribution, but also peripheral activities such as transportation, communications and certification.

The Fund seeks to support businesses with a clear competitive advantage and ambitious local management and targets to improve over 100,000 rural households livelihoods through improving access to; markets for their produce, higher quality agricultural inputs and services; creating jobs and employment opportunities, ensuring food security while generating income, foreign exchange and new export opportunities, all fundamentally contributing to Uganda’s economic growth and goal to eradicate poverty. Raintree joins other Ugandan business such as SESACO Limited, an agro-processing company specialising in soya products, CECOFA, a coffee processor, and Chemiphar, an analytical laboratory providing testing and inspection services to SME businesses that have previously received a UGX8 billion infusion from the fund.

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I will pursue Bank of Uganda to the end; if I die, my son will take over- Dr. Sudhir vows

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Dr Sudhir Ruparelia addresses a media conference soon after Commercial Court dismissed the BoU case. He said everyone who participated in the illegal closure, takeover and sale of Crane Bank would be made to pay
Ruparelia Group founder and Chairman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia has said he is ready to legally pursue Bank of Uganda and make them pay for illegally taking over his bank, till the very end. This is the first time Dr Ruparelia is publicly commenting about Bank of Uganda’s planned appeal, following the dismissal of the central bank’s UGX397 billion case against the businessman over “being incompetently in court.” Commercial Court’s Hon Mr. Justice David K. Wangutusi, on Monday August 26th dismissed HCCS 493 of 2017, saying BoU “did not have jurisdiction to file HCCS No. 493 of 2017” and that the orders sought against Meera are “barred in law, rendering” BoU with no “cause of Action” against Meera. BoU in an August 27th statement by the Director of Communciations, Charity Mugumywa, said BoU would appeal “as per Notice of Appeal Application 320 of 2019 filed in the High Court today.” “Me I am ready, today, tomorrow or even when I am dead my son will take over,” said Sudhir in a media interview today, during the official opening of Electrical Plaza, his latest $10 million commercial building in downtown Kampala. “Let me tell you, the law is the law, nobody can reinvent law. You see they (BoU) created this law (FIA 2004) to protect themselves. They are saying no body can sue them. So we used the same law to defeat them,” he said adding: “They have taken seven banks and nobody could do anything to them because they had the law to protect them. So we used the same law they used to protect them to defeat them.” In a veiled comment about the appeal he said that: “If anybody has senses in bank of Uganda, they have such dumb lawyers there. If the lawyers knew the law they are supposed to enforce, this could have not happened. So I think it’s good for us that there are dumb lawyers in Bank of Uganda legal department.” He also alluded to the fact that the lawyers could be playing so as to continue profiting from legal fees as the appeal drugs on, finally costing the tax payers when the case is lost. Analysts have said BoU’s appeal is equivalent to “throwing good money after bad money” because Justice Wangutusi’s ruling was based on a plain and clear interpretation of the Financial Institutions Act. Giving his reasons on why he thought BoU did not have a locus standi, Wangutusi, based his ruling on The Financial Institutions Act which clearly lays out the role of a receiver. “In my view if it (FIA 2004) had wanted the Receiver who had only 12 months on stage to sue, it would have expressly provided for it. “The end result is that once Crane Bank was put under Statutory Management, its Board of Directors was suspended. If there was to be any suit, it would be brought by the Central Bank as the Statutory manager under section 89(2)(e) or by the Liquidator with approval of the Central Bank under section 100(1)(a) of the Financial Institutions Act. These two were empowered to initiate and defend court action by the Financial Institution Act which interestingly left out the Receiver. The Legislature did not want any court action against the Receiver…… It follows that the Respondent under Receivership lacked locus standi. Without locus standi its attempt at filing a suit was null ab initio (to be treated as invalid from the outset).”    “Everyone who stole my bank, is going to pay,” Sudhir vows Sudhir has previously said that everyone who participated in illegally taking over Crane Bank, would have to pay. “Everyone who has played a part in the fraudulent activities is going to pay for it – we are not going easy.  That includes dfcu that is fraudulently occupying Meera Properties; they are the biggest fraudsters in this country. They need to understand that they are illegally occupying our branches and they fraudulently transferred them into their names without the consent of Meera Investments” he told media soon after the ruling. Addressing a media conference outside the Commercial Court, a tough-talking Sudhir said:  “Everyone is going to pay a price for this,” he said, adding: “We are now going to put up a counter claim. You know COSASE found out a lot of things of what these people did. With guidance from my lawyers, we will put a counter claim. They did not value our assets, they did not account for the cash in the bank; all the money was just stolen. This is terrible,” Sudhir said. “This is a big win over the mafias and the whole conspiracy that’s been holding the country at ransom in the central bank. I think this is going to be a lesson to them. They have taken over 7 banks and they cannot account for any of them. How do you fail to account to someone? I am a shareholder, I lost a lot of money; I put 25 years of my time and you steal my bank? –you steal all my assets, all my paid-up capital, and all my assets just stolen. And you claim that you put this money in Crane Bank and you can’t even account for it, you can’t even account for Shs290 Billion – where is it all gone?” quizzed Sudhir. Sudhir also said this was a “tremendous achievement” and “historical.

“Nobody has been in the past been able to win Central Bank – they have stolen 7 different banks and not accounted to any shareholder and this is the unfortunate part of the whole scenario. You take somebody’s assets, you steal it, you profit from it and you don’t account for it; this is so ridiculous!  Then, they sued for $100 Million; the money they stole, they are suing me for it. How?” he wondered.                

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Pictorial: How Meera Investments is changing Kampala’s skyline

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Today, Meera Investments, the property development arm of the Ruparelia Group officially inaugurates their Electrical Plaza, the latest addition to their mixed use building portfolio in the city centre.  

Kampala Boulevard is a mixed use building on Kampala Road with shops and fully furnished suites- the Kampala Boulevard Suites. The suites offer accommodation with seating area. The air-conditioned units have a fully equipped kitchenette with dining area and an oven and a fitness centre.

Since 1994, Meera has been part of a number of innovative property solutions in mainly, the commercial and residential space and today owns sectors and to date owns over 300 properties in Kampala and other major towns like Mukono, Jinja, Mbale and Mbarara.    

With 287 shops, 66 fully furnished apartments, Hardware City building is strategically located in the central business district. With access to three main roads and parking for up to 150 cars, it is one of the best arcades in town.

The company, according to its Chairman and founder, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, is the largest developer of commercial and residential properties and also owns the largest number of ongoing real estate projects. It is also the largest private owner of commercial land in Kampala.

Bukoto Heights consists of 97 tastefully furnished modern apartments, premium designed to offer guests a mix of modern contemporary surroundings and a relaxing, laid back environment. Built in the northern suburb of Bukoto the facility offers both short stay and long-term guests all the comfort and amenities of a full service hotel. The range of accommodation facilities suits all guests, whether business traveller that require a standard apartment, leisure travellers or guests that require a luxuriously spacious apartment or have even taken the kids along for the ride and require family accommodation.  

Meera Investments Limited was in 2017/18 rated as a top rental income taxpayer by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) while Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the Chairman/Managing Director of Meera Investments, was rated the second biggest individual rental income taxpayer.

Kingdom Kampala Mall, consists of 22,000m2 of Grade A retail and office space. Built to international standards. Out of the 40,000m2 built up area, 22,000m2 is lettable, consisting of 18,000m2 of office space (10 floors), 4,000m2 of retail as well as parking for up to 450 cars. The building has been fitted with a modern sprinkler fire suppression system consisting of a 200,000 litre water tank and 2 fire pumps with a back-up generator.  There is a separate holding water tank with a capacity of 150,000 litres.
The building is also equipped with 6 lifts- four with a capacity of 13 passengers and two with a capacity of 20 passengers. It also has three 500kva backup generators with a 15,000 diesel tank and has been fitted with 400 CCTVs for security. The building can run for 4-5 days off-grid.

Over the last 3-4 years, the company has been on a construction spree, raising several properties across Kampala, which have both redefined city architecture and changed both Kampala’s skyline, as well as the look and feel of the Kampala City.  

The Cube is a well- planned shopping arcade with five levels of shops, offices & restaurant space and apartments. Located at the busy Kisementi are in lower Kololo, it’s ideal for small and big brands that want to grow their dream business much faster in an ideal setting. 

Today, we revisit and review some of those projects, especially those developed over the last 3-4 years

Featuring one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as penthouse suites. All apartments have access to complimentary WiFi, ample parking slots within the premises for residents and their guests. Guests at Speke Apartments – Kitante have complimentary access to use the swimming pool and gym at Speke Apartments – Wampewo and Kabira Country Club both of which are within driving distance.
Located on Plot 11 Market Street at the confluence of Market Street and Kiyembe Lane, the $10 million Electrical Plaza is made up of 220 shops, 56 apartments and 2 floors of parking.

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“The development of SGR isn’t behind schedule at all as far as harmonization agreement is concerned,” Says Coordinator

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” The Standard Gauge Railway was adopted in 2014, by the East Africa Presidents who launched the multitrillion project meant to modernise the traditional railway transport system geared towards boosting economic growth by facilitating a faster movement of goods across borders. “

The SGR Coordinator, Canon Perez Wamburu while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday to respond to audit queries raised in the 2017/2018 audit report that raised concerns over the delays in implementation of the perceived regional railway, he affirmed that Uganda is on schedule for the construction despite compensating only 11% compensation of the project affected persons within three years.

Officials from Ministry of Works and Transport while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee

His remarks were in response to a call by some MPs like Theodore Ssekikuubo (Lwemiyaga County) who questioned why taxpayers have to continue funding the team in charge of SGR yet no single kilometer of the railway has been constructed, five years from the time it was launched in 2014.

Ssekikuubo said, “We are incurring nugatory expenditure on this white elephant. Is it about time we launched the standard gauge railway. After a decade of the launch, not even one kilometer has been put on ground. Kenya has already started on its side, ours was launched at a hotel in Munyonyo, it has remained there, dead and buried there unless the contrary is proved, are we as a country right to continue appropriating money to a non-starting project.”

In response, Wamburu said, “We agreed that Kenya and Uganda arrive at Malaba at the same time. The development of SGR isn’t behind schedule at all as far as harmonization agreement is concerned. Uganda SGR isn’t late at all.”

The Standard Gauge Railway was adopted in 2014, by the East Africa Presidents who launched the multitrillion project meant to modernise the traditional railway transport system geared towards boosting economic growth by facilitating a faster movement of goods across borders.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya flagged off the maiden passenger train on the newly completed Mombasa-Nairobi SGR in March 2017 and although Uganda had promised to start construction in June 2015, but three years down the road, Government is yet to complete funding negotiations with Exim Bank China.

On Uganda’s side, project is to cost USD2.8Bn approximately, of this, Exim Bank will bring on board USD2.3Bn which represents 85%, while the remaining 15% will be footed by Ugandan tax payers.

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