Eight agribusiness opportunities in Nigeria, Zambia and beyond

by MMC
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Employees of the fruit and vegetable processing factory based in Burkina Faso Rose Eclat.

From producing niche processed food products in Zambia to providing cold storage facilities to farmers in Nigeria, we highlight eight opportunities in Africa’s agribusiness sector.

1. Untapped processed food potential in Zambia

Local production of processed food products, which Zambia currently imports, offers promising opportunities, says Tue Nyboe Andersen, managing director of Lusaka-based Kukula Capital. He believes the real potential lies in niche processed food products with little competition. Zambia’s landlocked status means that imported products must be transported long distances, naturally acting as a barrier to importation. For example, Meraki, a local company, makes cakes and supplies them to major retailers such as Shoprite. It has grown rapidly with decent margins because its competition is much more expensive imported products. Read the entire article

2. Cold Storage Solutions in Nigeria

An estimated 40% of food in sub-Saharan Africa spoils before reaching the consumer, indicating a substantial need for cold storage and temperature-regulated transportation services. An example of a Nigerian company that has tapped into this opportunity is ColdHubs, which offers solar-powered cold storage solutions suitable for farmers, retailers and wholesalers. Strategically located in key centers of food production and consumption such as markets and farms, these cold rooms operate on an a la carte subscription model. Farmers must pay a fixed daily amount per crate of stored food. Read the entire article

3. Zimbabwe’s answer to traditional Vaseline

Vaseline, distilled from a byproduct of crude oil, has been a popular skin care product since its patent by American chemist Robert Chesebrough in 1872. Zimbabwean entrepreneur Gus Le Breton sees an opportunity in the market for a natural alternative. He suggests creating a similar product using oils extracted from mongongo nuts, marula and baobab seeds. These oils are natural, locally sourced and do not rely on any imported ingredients. Read the entire article

4. Export potential of East African avocados and fresh produce to Europe and the Middle East

Charlie Tryon, CEO and co-founder of Maris Africa, sees opportunities in East Africa to produce crops such as avocados, fresh herbs and a variety of vegetables, primarily for export to Europe and the Middle East. “The war in Ukraine has driven up energy prices and input costs, leading to shortages in global supply chains. As a result, we are seeing major disruptions in the food production industry, particularly in countries like the Netherlands, where food is produced in greenhouses using natural gas for heating. I see a real opportunity for East Africa to recover some of this production lost by the Netherlands, for example. We are quite optimistic about the sector as a whole,” he notes. Read the entire article

5. Tapping into demand for poultry in Angola and Mozambique

“Poultry is an important market and in the African context, chicken is at the top of the list,” explains Henri de Villeneuve, founder of SAPA, an investment vehicle that supports the entry of European agro-industrial groups into markets. from East Africa and Southern Africa. To succeed in the poultry sector, he notes, producers must be integrated and control the value chain, starting with animal feed. The cost of the feed is often around 70% of the price of the chicken. He further advises against producing chicken for local consumption near the coast due to potential competition from imports, such as those from Brazil. It is more strategic to produce within the country, where transport costs constitute an obstacle to competition. An additional tip he shares is to be aware of abnormal situations or gaps when demand increases. “In Angola, everyone wants chicken at Christmas. They will charter 747s to import chicken to meet local demand during this period; if you know it and are ready to act, it can be a great investment opportunity,” he says. Read the entire article

6. Opportunities to export food products from Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s agro-industrial sector is booming, as Job Zongo, managing director of the investment company Sinergi Burkina, observes. He highlights many opportunities in agriculture and grain processing, including corn, sorghum, rice, fonio and millet. There is also potential in oleoproteins like soy and sesame, as well as fruits, vegetables and trees like shea and néré. Beyond primary production, Zongo discusses prospects in support services such as transportation, storage and mechanization.

“Currently, there is a strong nationalist sentiment, with domestic consumers increasingly wanting to consume locally made products, which means many industrial companies are trying to process local products,” he adds. Although some companies are targeting this domestic market, Zongo says it remains relatively small, which is why Sinergi Burkina primarily seeks to invest in companies looking to export their products. “The government provides a lot of support to help businesses export, including helping them participate in trade fairs and connect with international buyers. » Read the entire article

7. Nigeria Agricultural Machinery Repair and Maintenance Solutions

In the Nigerian agricultural sector, there is an untapped business opportunity in the efficient maintenance and repair of machinery, such as tractors, notes Mira Mehta, CEO of tomato paste producer Tomato Jos. Persistent shortages of spare parts have led to extended downtime. Mehta advises potential candidates to connect with commercial agricultural entities to understand and solve their unique challenges. Read the entire article

8. An argument for essential oil production in East Africa

Maxima Nsimenta, CEO of Livara – a Ugandan company producing natural products for hair, skin and body – sees untapped potential in essential oil production in East Africa. She notes that although the region imports significant volumes of essential oils, it is possible to produce them locally. Flowers grown in Uganda and Kenya are mainly exported to countries like Amsterdam and other European destinations. However, local industries have not fully exploited the potential for extracting essential oils from these plants. For example, lavender, abundant in oils, could be a local source of lavender essential oil extraction. A small bouquet of lavender in Uganda costs around 15,000 shillings (around $4), but 20 ml of its oil can fetch around $40. Essential oils are in demand locally for a variety of uses, from baked goods and beverages to cosmetics such as lotions, creams and perfumes. Even small industries, like scented candle makers, need essential oils. Read the entire article

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