NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – Homabay based aquaculture startup Victory Farms has received a Sh50 million loan from Conservation International Ventures.
Victory Farms produces tilapia on Lake Victoria and sells primarily to low-income neighborhoods across Kenya.
Joseph Rehmann, Founder and CEO of Victory Farms says the loan is part of a larger round of investments that closed in 2019, which will enable the company to grow its logistics and farm operations.
According to the CEO, the firm, which was founded in 2015, hopes to expand production to about 60,000 tonnes of tilapia over the next six years, a figure that would equal more than half of the wild catch in the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria.
“Our innovative technologies bring together the best aquaculture practices from around the globe to tackle the challenge of providing accessible, affordable and healthy protein to a rapidly growing population facing a dwindling supply of wild fish catch,” said Rehmann.
Rehmann added that the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic bring to light the importance of elevating the issue of food security.
Despite the current challenges, the company continues to expand into various markets across Kenya to ensure that fresh affordable tilapia is available to low-income communities.
“We need to localize supply chains and make them sustainable, rather than rely further on unsustainable globalized food,” Rehmann said.
“We are grateful for the support of investors like Conservation International Ventures coming to the table during this challenging time to help make that happen.”
The company’s extensive measures to set new global standards for social and environmental best practices in tilapia farming align with Conservation International Venture’s mission to support businesses with positive environmental and social impact at the core of their value propositions.
Victory Farms is also one of the largest employers in Homa Bay County, with most staff hailing from communities surrounding the fish farms where job opportunities are otherwise scarce.
The company continually invests in the technical and management skills of their 350 and growing full-time employees.
“Together, Conservation International and Victory Farms can work to ensure that adequate regulation and monitoring is introduced to this potentially transformative industry at an early-enough stage to prevent degradation of Lake Victoria’s ecosystems, all the while creating much-needed jobs and providing a critical food source to local communities,” said Agustin Silvani, Senior Vice President of Conservation Finance at Conservation International.