Reuters (Africa) Online, Farm Land Grab (online) 14/01/2010
Agri-Vie eyes $300 million for Africa farm projects
By Wendell Roelf
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Sub-Saharan focused private equity fund Agri-Vie will reach its $100 million target for investment in agricultural project by March, and could triple this amount in a second fund, a top official said on Thursday.
Agri-Vie funds food and agricultural projects in Africa seeking to make equity investments across the agribusiness spectrum, including processing and product distribution.
Africa’s agricultural sector, largely subsistence-based and under-developed, is set to boom as European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries invest in the world’s poorest continent to boost food security in their own backyards.
“The indication is that we would reach that target of $100 million by February, March this year,” Izak Strauss, executive director and chief investment officer of the Cape Town- based fund told Reuters in an interview.
The first fund was launched in May 2008.
Agri-Vie’s backers include South Africa’s Development Bank of Southern Africa and private entities such as the W.K. Kellog Foundation.
“There is definitely an opportunity to do a second fund substantially larger than the first fund…probably (in the region of) $200 to $300 million,” he said, adding that the second fund would likely launch around 2013 or 2014.
Strauss said the first plans to invest up to $25 million in five new projects during 2010, including a new $4 million eco-tourism project in Tanzania. He did not elaborate.