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.
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.”
“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.
I will pursue Bank of Uganda to the end; if I die, my son will take over- Dr. Sudhir vows
“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.
Pictorial: How Meera Investments is changing Kampala’s skyline
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today, we revisit and review some of those projects, especially those developed over the last 3-4 years
“The development of SGR isn’t behind schedule at all as far as harmonization agreement is concerned,” Says Coordinator
” 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.
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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