TANZANIA – East Africa Fruits, a Tanzanian company addressing food distribution challenges by improving efficiencies in the farm-to-market sector, has raised US$2.05m in Series A equity funding round.

The company supports smallholder farmers on crop planning in alignment with marketplaces, upgrading farm-side infrastructure and transitioning to sustainable practices.

East Africa Fruits also aggregates demand and delivers a wide range of fresh and exotic produce directly from farms to stores of B2B customers.

The fundraising round was led by Goodwell, a Dutch impact investment firm, with participation from FINCA Ventures, an investing platform that provides patient capital to early-stage social enterprises and elea, a philanthropic impact investor.

“The completion of our Series A funding opens up incredible opportunities for East Africa Fruits,” said Elia Timotheo, founder and CEO of East Africa Fruits.

“We’re eager to scale our operations, expand the reach of our smallholder farmer network and our distribution footprint, and ultimately to demonstrate real impact in the lives of local farmers and informal food vendors,” he added.

The investment capital will accelerate East Africa Fruits’ ability to build essential supply chain infrastructure with better transport for fresh produce directly from farms to urban marketplaces and strengthen livelihoods for small-scale farmers and food vendors.

Over the next three years, the company aims to serve over 10,000 farmers and 6,000 small-and-medium enterprise (SME) vendors.

It will also acquire new machinery for its main distribution center and build essential infrastructure and technology to collect, store and distribute produce to match demand more accurately.

Being Goodwell’s first agricultural sector investment, it signals the broadening of its uMunthu portfolio into agriculture to address one of the biggest challenges facing the world today — food security.

Tanzania is no exception to the food security problem: majority of produce never reaches the market as a result of food wastage caused by poor food transportation, lack of cold chain food storage and inadequate market information for farmers.

“Our investment in East Africa Fruits will help address these challenges,” said Joel Wanjohi, Associate Partner and Lead Investment Manager, East Africa, at Goodwell Investments.

“The substantial impact on enhancing food security and empowering the farmers through market linkage, driven by outstanding, local entrepreneurs, makes EAF a perfect match to our investment philosophy.”

Ami Dalal, Managing Director of FINCA Ventures added that, “East Africa Fruits is not only improving market linkages in the value chain for smallholder farmers and vendors in the market, but also they are enhancing the potential for financing smallholder farmers and market vendors by raising income levels and providing predictable and well-documented cash flows.”

“We are impressed by the social and economic impact East Africa Fruits has on smallholder farmers’ lives, the dedicated team, and the potential of further improving the supply chain for agricultural produce in Tanzania,” said Stefan Kappeler, Managing Director & COO at elea.