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Supporting Zimbabwean smallholders with investment in Organic Africa

The CFC is investing USD 850,000 to help Organic Africa scale up its business and amplify its positive impact on smallholder farmers and wild collectors in Zimbabwe.  

Founded in 2007, Organic Africa is an impact enterprise, processing and exporting dried herbs, spices and indigenous medicinal plants. The company supports smallholder farmers and wild collectors to access high value markets that would otherwise be out of reach, where there is significant demand for their products. This includes ensuring they are grown and processed in line with internationally recognised certifications such as EU Organic and Fairtrade.

At the heart of Organic Africa’s work is its commitment to generating positive environmental, economic and social impact. The company’s sustainability credentials are reinforced by SAP traceability technology, which uses QR codes to connect end customers to the farmer groups that grew the ingredients in the products they’re buying.

The business currently works with 4,500 smallholders and 7,000 wild collectors. By supplying Organic Africa, they benefit from long-term contracts and guaranteed prices. On average they earn 40% additional income compared to other smallholder farmers and collectors in Zimbabwe. 

The CFC’s investment will enable Organic Africa to expand its positive impact. The company aims to reach a total of 25,000 smallholders and collectors within four years, and boost the additional income they receive from 40% to 50%.  

Commenting on the CFC’s investment, Organic Africa CEO Dominikus Collenberg said: “We have a robust structure and business model that enables us to tap into markets where there is high demand and low supply. This means we can provide economic security and opportunity to some of the most vulnerable people in rural Zimbabwe, while developing a sustainable business. The CFC’s investment will help us build on that and increase the number of small-scale farmers and wild collectors we can benefit.”    

CFC Impact Investment Manager Peter Nielsen, who has worked closely with Organic Africa, said: “The company has a very attractive impact model which achieves both social and environmental impact. Sustainably grown and high-value herbs, spices, and indigenous medicinal plants provide value cash income for smallholders and farm workers while reducing the pressure on agricultural land caused by other crops grown with more extensive and high-input techniques. At the same time, Organic Africa’s work on sensitising its suppliers and stakeholder communities to the financial value of preserving ecosystems is a real boon to biodiversity, climate, and the livelihoods that ultimately depend on them.”

CFC Managing Director, Amb. Sheikh Mohammed Belal, added: “This investment encapsulates so many of the characteristics we look for in an agribusiness. It taps into viable and expanding international markets, using its expertise to enable Zimbabwean smallholders and collectors to generate more value from their crops, while enhancing the environment around them. I am looking forward to seeing how the CFC’s support helps Organic Africa to reach more smallholders and accelerate its positive impact in the years ahead.” 

If your organisation would like to apply for CFC investment, our next Call for Proposals will open shortly. Keep checking in on LinkedIn for news about its launch and find out more here:

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