WEST AFRICA – Senegal-based agribusiness firm Agro Boye, has received a US$1.1 million co-investment grant from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub), to increase its production capacity of horticultural products, helping to reduce food insecurity and import-dependency in the country.

The investment comes three years after its partnership with the Trade Hub on building a successful pilot project that the agribusiness implemented in 2019 to boost its potato cultivation using 30 hectares of land.

At that time, Agro Boye first invested around US$260,000 and produced 900 metric tons of potato, generating US$314,000 in revenue.

The company will now leverage its Trade Hub grant and approximately US$5 million of private capital to further increase its potato production, as well as the production of onions and tomatoes, through preparing and cultivating 240 hectares of virgin land.

“This partnership with the Trade Hub will help us solidify our role as an import-substitute of agricultural products and contribute to a national strategy of nutritional self-reliance,” said Birane Boye, CEO of Agro Boye.

By the project’s end in April 2024, Agro Boye expects this investment to bring its total production levels to 8,610 metric tons of potatoes, 720 metric tons of tomatoes, and 5,120 metric tons of onions.

Approximately 1,466 local jobs will be created through the increased production of Agro Boye’s crops, including for agricultural technicians, irrigators, farm machinery operators, and field workers.

The majority of the positions will be allocated to women and youth, in line with both Agro Boye’s and the Trade Hub’s commitment to ensuring these two groups have increased access to agricultural opportunities.

The grant will also help Agro Boye double its storage capacity to 6,000 tons to minimize losses and waste from over-production, and help stabilize prices as the availability of produce is leveled throughout the year.

To further support food security, Agro Boye, in partnership with local governments, will construct an eight-kilometer road to facilitate customers’ access to its production site and products.

Sixteen neighboring communities will also benefit from this road’s construction, as it will make it easier for them to access local markets.

“Reducing West African countries’ dependence on agricultural imports is crucial to ensuring food security.

“We are excited to partner with Agro Boye to boost both crop production in Senegal and communities’ access to horticultural products grown in the country,” said Karl Littlejohn, Trade Hub’s Acting Chief of Party.

Trade hub supports Guinea’s La Petite Damba in construction of modern fonio processing facility

Meanwhile in Guinea, Trade Hub recently awarded a food processing and packaging company, La Petite Damba, with US$258,000 co-investment grant.

The investment is aimed to fulfill the company’s objectives of scaling up and automating its fonio processing, as well as increasing its storage capacity in the rural Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.

Founded in 2016 and based in Conakry, La Petite Damba specializes in the transformation and commercialization of local Guinean products for the African, European and North American markets.

La Petite Damba’s most successful and profitable product is fonio. This nutrient-packed, gluten-free cereal is commonly used in dishes as a healthy replacement for rice or quinoa.

“La Petite Damba is pleased to receive this grant award and put it towards the construction of a brand-new production facility and the purchase of modern equipment to create meaningful impact for 2,400 individuals in the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea,” said Fode Youla, Co-founder and CEO of La Petite Damba.

The new facility valued at over US$1.2m will boost La Petite Damba’s production to 250 tons of fonio per year from the current 60 tons per year. Sales of fonio are expected to surpass US$1.4M during the life of the 2-year project.

Guinea produces 75% of the world’s stock of fonio, however, the processing techniques of this ancient grain have seen very little progress over the past thousand years.

The grant funds will assist in improving the company’s processing of this high-value crop, which will in turn reduce the burden of the majority female population that grows fonio, create high-paying jobs, and boost export potential for Guinea.

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