Lake Harvest Group (“Lake Harvest”), one of the largest integrated aquaculture companies in Sub Saharan Africa, has attracted Aqua-Spark (“the fund”) as a new cornerstone investor. As the pioneer fund for sustainable aquaculture, Aqua-Spark, together with NORFUND, the Norwegian investment fund strengthening the private sector in developing countries, are investing USD 7 million in the growth of Lake Harvest’s tilapia operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Uganda.
Established in 1997, Lake Harvest is a long-time leader in Sub Saharan Africa with operations in three countries and a sales and distribution presence in seven countries. With its own distribution network and processing plant as well as a locally embedded team with decades of experience, Lake Harvest is well-positioned for growth. In addition, the farm is mission-aligned—adopting best practices that include education and training programs for staff as well as the sale of byproducts, antibiotic-free operations, and genetic improvement.
James de la Fargue, CEO Lake Harvest: “We are very pleased to welcome Aqua-Spark as a new investor. Their values and vision are aligned with the remaining shareholders. Aqua-Spark has a long-term investment approach towards sustainable aquaculture and, with its new fund, will focus on Africa in particular. We look forward to working with the Aqua-Spark team and benefitting from both their knowledge and their ecosystem of sustainable aquaculture companies.”
Aqua-Spark is launching a subsidiary fund focused on building infrastructure through vertically integrated farming platforms that support and stimulate outgrower programs to ignite the growth of a wider aquaculture sector, embedding it in local and regional African economies. Together with Aqua-Spark’s existing investments in Africa and farming investments still to come, Lake Harvest will function as one of the key platforms that Aqua-Spark Africa will help build. Lake Harvest is already established at a significant scale, which will accelerate the fund reaching its goals of Aqua-Spark Africa.
Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founder and managing partner Aqua-Spark: “We are excited to welcome Lake Harvest to our investment portfolio. Lake Harvest is a well-established brand for African tilapia with strong footholds in various countries across Eastern and Southern Africa. Aqua-Spark’s investment model is an ecosystem in which our investments contribute collectively towards a more sustainable and accessible aquaculture industry. We see ourselves as a committed partner and look forward to contributing to the future success of Lake Harvest and its people as well as the sustainable African aquaculture sector in general.”
Aqua-Spark’s latest open-access industry report from Aqua Insights, “An Introduction to Tilapia in Sub-Saharan Africa” offers an overview of tilapia’s potential to scale and meet Africa’s growing need for healthy, sustainable protein.
With this investment, Aqua-Spark joins African Century Group (since 2008) and NORFUND (since 2013) as shareholders of Lake Harvest. African Development Bank has ceased its shareholding now that the company has attracted long-term investors.
Lake Harvest is one of the largest integrated tilapia operations in Sub-Saharan Africa, with sustainable tilapia farming operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia (both in Lake Kariba) and Uganda (Lake Victoria) and a distribution network in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Aqua-Spark is an investment fund launched in 2014 with a mission to transform the global aquaculture industry into one that is healthier, more sustainable, and more accessible. They invest in aquaculture companies across the value chain—spanning farming operations, alternative feed ingredients, disease-battling technology, and consumer-facing aquaculture products. These companies are solving some of the industry’s big challenges while bringing returns that are comparable to today’s traditional industry. The portfolio works as an ecosystem, with the companies agreeing to collaborate on optimal solutions, and working together toward this shared vision of a more efficient global aquaculture industry. Since 2015, the fund has invested in 24 complementary SMEs. Thus far, Aqua-Spark has EUR 275 million in assets under management, dedicated to investments in elements of the aquaculture industry that will make fish farming sustainable. The goal of the fund is to ultimately make sustainability widespread and profitable enough that it becomes the only way to farm fish.