Our Purpose: GAFCo is a faith based, for profit company seeking to eliminate extreme poverty among subsistence farmers in Africa through innovation and a unified system of empowerment that integrates improved farming systems, crop insurance, micro finance, electronic money management, and access to global value chains. GAFCo operates in a 3-In-1 partnership with World Vision and VisionFund to connect productive poor farmers to global markets.
Investment Target: 12M USD
Growth Finance Needed: Debt, 5 year term 5 % per annum, interest payable every 6 months, other maturities with different interest rates may be considered in the future
To date, GAFCO has:
Provided sustainable livelihoods to approximately 7,000 smallholder farmer families who were previously living in extreme poverty
Delivered Biblical based life and business training to smallholder farmers and their families through World Vision Tanzania’s involvement in the 3-in-1 model.
Great African Food Company (“GAFCO”) is a for-profit, social impact business whose purpose is to lift children out of poverty by improving the capacity of productive poor farmers to grow high value crops for global markets. Profits are reinvested to create a self-funding, self-replicating model that impacts an ever-greater number of farming families. GAFCO operates in partnership with World Vision Tanzania (WVT) and Vision Fund Tanzania (VFT) to connect productive poor farmers to global markets.
GAFCO exports high value crops to Europe and the Middle East including food beans, seed beans, and healthy sunflower and safflower cold-pressed oils. With logistics infrastructure, a fleet of farming equipment, processing facilities, and over 130 full-time employees, GAFCO owns an export value chain that can be linked to farmers in the poorest regions of Tanzania.
In remote locations with under-developed economies, no single intervention can solve all the challenges that prevent subsistence farmers from extricating themselves from poverty. Their hardship can be mitigated by the relief of NGOs that intervene with aid of various sorts, but such aid does not lead to sustainable improvement in livelihoods. GAFCO’s 3-In-1 Partnership with World Vision Tanzania (WVT) and Vision Fund Tanzania (VFT) addresses all these constraints simultaneously in a single integrated model. The 3-In-1 partnership not only connects poor farmers to global markets, but also covers the full spectrum of what the farmers need to develop a sustainable improvement in the quality of their lives and those of their families.
2016: GAFCo made its first acquisition of Quality Food Products (QFP) Limited who had been operating in Tanzania for 14 years contracting with small, mid-scale and commercial farmers producing maize, seed beans and sunflower and safflower seeds for high quality cold pressed oils.
2016-2017: GAFCo’s shareholders invested $14.4 million in Tanzania with the aim of proving that smallholder farmers can grow high quality crops through a sustainable model that does not rely indefinitely on charitable funding.
2017: GAFCo signed an MOU with World Vision Tanzania and VisionFund Tanzania establishing the 3-In-1 partnership to holistically address the economic and spiritual needs of subsistence farmers in Tanzania who are living in extreme poverty.
Residing in Arusha Tanzania, Ms. Woodring is responsible for leading over 130 employees and developing and managing key domestic and international partnerships to connect productive poor smallholder farmers to global markets. Before pursuing philanthropic activities to serve the poor through … Read More
Responsible for developing new markets, strategic partnerships and clients for agricultural products produced by GAFCo contracted farmers. Mr. Warmenhoven has over 30 years of entrepreneurial and senior management Agricultural experience in Europe, Africa and Asia. As an entrepreneur and CEO … Read More
Mr. Jiwaji graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a BSc in Management Science and Economics. Mr. Jiwaji served in finance and business development roles at Oracle and KPMG before joining QFP in 2013. Through Mr. Jiwaji’s leadership, … Read More
Leads the company’s efforts in strategic planning, commercial fundraising, and developing strategic partnerships. Prior to joining GAFCo, Mr. Brookhart worked for World Vision Tanzania as Chief Advisor for Resilience and Livelihood, a volunteer position. He previously spent 14 years in … Read More
As the Head of Production, Lake Zone brings in over 15 years of strong agronomic technical and production knowledge in rain fed and irrigated horticultural crops. Having completed a degree in Management Business Training at the Kenya Institute of Management, … Read More
Is the Chief Technology Officer and Director of Smallholder Operations for the Great Africa Food Company (GAFCo) in Tanzania. He was raised on a farm in Iowa (USA) and started his career managing a small farming operation that was growing … Read More
Leads grant funding and developing partnerships with bilateral and multilateral organizations, academia, and media both domestically in Tanzania and internationally. For over 28 years across the globe, Mr. Andrews has served World Vision International in uplifting children from poverty through … Read More
Brings over 10 years of agriculture and operations management experience, and serves as Head of Operations for Mid-scale and Commercial growers. Mr. Peterson holds a BSc Ecology at the Florida Institute of Technology. Mr. Peterson is responsible for over 30,000 … Read More
Holds a BA and Masters in Agribusiness from Sokoine University of Agriculture. He brings over 10 years of progressive experience working in agriculture, agribusiness and marketing research with both private companies and various local and international development organizations in Tanzania … Read More
The Commercial Hub
Commercial hubs operate within a 40 kilometer area where the objective is to expand to over 10,000 acres impacting the incomes of farmers in multiple villages and sub-villages. They reach break-even at 5,000 acres enabling profits to be used to replicate more hubs as land under cultivation continues to increase. Hubs become the center of agricultural activity within the region, creating the economies of scale that stimulate vibrant business activity. Farmers are encouraged and enabled to expand their farms from 1-3 acres to 20+ acres, leading to significant increases in their incomes, which should attract new farmers to join the hub.
The hub centers around a GAFCo Academy, which is a profitable model farm of 50-500 acres that serves as a venue for training on farming techniques that optimize yield and quality. Agronomists work on site but also make frequent farm visits to supervise production. GAFCo Academy conducts research on best practices and has developed climate-smart protocols based on conservation agriculture technology tailored to the local environment in Tanzania.
The profits of the GAFCo Academy farm fully cover the training and research initiatives.
GAFCo provides mechanized services, including land preparation, precision planting, spraying, and harvesting to groups of consolidated smallholder farmers and individuals farming 20 acres or more. This allows farmers to achieve higher crop quality and yields, while cultivating more land to earn greater incomes. The cost of mechanized services is factored into the input budget for Vision Fund loans and can be repaid from crop sales.
WVT engages farmers in a series of empowered worldview workshops that explore Biblical truths regarding identity: creation in the image of God, purpose, love of God and neighbour, freedom from fatalism, creativity, personal responsibility, stewardship of the natural environment and improved household income through farming. It is a process that ignites a sustainable movement of spiritual and social change that unleashes the creative freedom of smallholder farmers to be more productive, thus enabling the Company and the farmer to be profitable. It inspires and guides them how to move from a subsistence farming and dependency mind-set towards becoming stewards of relationships and natural resources.
Experience has shown that farmers who participate in WVT’s empowered worldview program are more productive and better able to provide well for their families – especially their children’s nutrition, health care, education, shelter and protection.
GAFCo and their contracted farmers work in partnership to supply a number of different agricultural products to the domestic Tanzanian market as well as export markets. In 2016 sales were split 76 %/24 % between the export and domestic market. GAFCo’s products include:
- Pulse/Food Beans: packed and exported to Europe, with smaller graded beans sold domestically
- Seed Beans: exported to Europe and represent GAFCo’s highest margin product
- High Oleic SunFlower Oil and High Linoleic Safflower Oil: Sunflower seeds are crushed in Tanzania, then exported Europe.
- Yellow maize: sold in the domestic market for animal feed
- White maize: sold in the domestic market. GAFCo is moving away from the White maize market to focus on Yellow maize as the White maize market in Tanzania is subject to significant political interference.
- Sun hemp seed: sold in the USA for farmers wanting to grow green manure to enrich soil nutrients
- Sorghum: sold in the domestic market to breweries. offers a less political crop to white maize
To date, GAFCo’s sales channels have predominantly been to distributors/traders, but the company has a clear strategy to increase its sales direct to end users such as food companies, bean canneries, etc. This will increase GAFCo’s margins, but does require significant investment in capital equipment to increase processing (e.g. color bean sorting, packaging), enable further value addition (e.g. oil purification and bottling) and reduce logistics costs by enabling processing to take place closer to source
GAFCo has invested in sales and marketing by establishing GAFCo Europe, headed by Willem Warmenhoven, Director, Global Sales & Strategy, whose remit is to develop new markets, clients and strategic partnerships for the products produced by GAFCo’s contracted farmers, in short, to develop channels to market which will enable GAFCo and their contracted farmers to maximize margins by selling direct to end users rather than via distributors/traders.
GAFCo’s contracted production has historically been concentrated in Arusha in the North of Tanzania. GAFCo is expanding into both the North West of the country, where the higher elevation and rainfall patterns enable two pulse/bean seasons each year which will enable GAFCo to increase volumes and provide customers with consistent year round supply. Furthermore GAFCo is expanding in the South of Tanzania, which is also a strategically interesting location for development of cross border export markets into Southern and Western countries in Africa (DRC, Zambia), offers offsetting seasons for seed bean export market, and excellent conditions for sunflower seed production.
In 2018: GAFCo will make significant investments in staff, new commercial hubs, mechanized equipment, bean sorting automation, oil purification equipment, etc. These investments are expected to not only result in the significant revenue increase, but also sustainable profit from 2019 and beyond
By 2021: GAFCo intends to increase the average daily income of its farmer households by 3 fold.
By 2021: GAFCo intends to have transitioned 14,200 households out of poverty, while working with many more at various stages of the transition process.