Danish agri start-up seeks private capital for Africa venture

Danishknowhow is looking for investors to help launch a new project in Uganda, its fourth agribusiness in Africa.

Danishknowhow, an independent Danish agribusiness consultancy and start-up firm, is looking for private capital to help launch a new project in Uganda. The company, which started as a farmer training business, has expanded into developing countries where it now establishes, develops and operates agribusiness projects with the aim of involving local entrepreneurs and agribusinesses. It also hopes to export some of Denmark’s farming know-how, according to Anders Frigaard, managing director.

The company already has three agribusiness projects running in Bolivia, Nepal and Mozambique. Its most recent project, a $1.6 million cropping and poultry farming project in Mozambique, was supported by the Danish government, which invested through the Bestseller Fund. The project was a partnership with a Mozambican agribusiness that supplied the land and local entrepreneurs, that can establish their own businesses on the land and Danishknowhow retains half of each business’ profits as a return, according to Frigaard.

“Danishknowhow gives investors the possibility to make a social investment in developing countries that will create sustainable small scale agribusinesses – and in the long term investors will be remunerated,” Frigaard told Agri Investor.

The Mozambique project will provide a model for the new project in Uganda, he added.

“The project is scalable,” he said. “The investment size will depend on the investor we find. For a first step we suggest an investment of around $2 million. With that amount, we could set up 50 small holding sustainable businesses for about 50 entrepreneurs and additional jobs for about 150 people,” he said.

“We went to Uganda in June this year, together with a Danish delegation,” he added. “We’re making a lot of local contacts in Uganda – they’re offering their services including their own land and facilities, but we’re still looking for serious investment.”

This is the first time the company has actively searched for private investment. “[With our existing projects] investors either came to us looking for a social impact opportunity or we were approached by the Danish government as part of their development initiatives.” The company’s Bolivian and Nepali projects both have commercial partners who gain either a market to sell goods to or an organised agribusiness project to invest in, respectively.