SEAF-backed ACPL expands feed protein operation into Africa

The joint venture with Afrisian is the start of an expansion effort by the animal feed and edible oils company.

SEAF India-backed Abhay Cotex Private Limited (ACPL) has created a joint venture with an seed and oil company, Afrisian Group, to expand the company’s animal feed operations into Tanzania.

The partnership is the first step in a global expansion strategy for the company’s animal feed and edible oils processing model, ACPL director Ashish Mantri told Agri Investor.

“[Afrisian] gives us a local partner with entrepreneurial ability in Tanzania, to help us build our business globally,” he said.  “Sixty-five percent of the world is import dependent in terms of proteins, so we think there is great potential for us to grow internationally.”

ACPL produces proteins for animal feed and edible oils from cotton seed and sunflower seeds. These inputs are less resource intensive than soybean production, according to Mantri.

The company chose Tanzania because of its strong dependence on soybean imports. Afrisian’s customer base in the Middle East, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, creates an opportunity for the venture to alleviate import dependence for the East African nation while also serving ACPL’s existing customer base in India, said Ashish.

“Abhay’s novel technology will add substantial value to the agribusiness in Tanzania, which in turn will benefit the entire value chain of protein and edible oils from the farmer to the processor to the customer,” said Samir Esmail director of Afrisian Group Tanzania.

ACPL received funding from SEAF’s $45 million 2010-vintage India Agribusiness Fund in 2011.

SEAF (Small Enterprise Assistance Funds) is a global investment firm that provide growth capital and operational support to businesses in emerging markets or underserved by traditional sources of capital. It selectively makes structured debt and equity investments in locally owned enterprises with high growth potential. The firm is currently seeking $150 million for its second India-focused agribusiness fund, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

Other investors in ACPL include early stage private investment company Middleland Capital, family offices and individual investors, according to the company website.