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Africa Food Security Fund: West End Farms


Business Challenge

West End Farms is a 300ha mixed farming enterprise located in the Centre Province of Cameroon. The Company engages in the production of maize and soya. WEF also engages in commercial breeding, rearing and fattening of pigs for pork production, and on a smaller scale, sheep and poultry farming.

In 2012, WEF product yields began declining, with most machines getting obsolete or in a state of disrepair. The farm lacked some key agronomical expertise and a structured management system to spearhead an advancement in growth.

The WEF pig enterprise was also seeing static growth and the company had challenges harnessing the weaner mortality, increasing birth rates and ensuring better food conversion.

Our Approach

In December 2012, The AAF SME Fund made its initial investment in West End Farms. $2.39m worth of capital has been invested in the business to date. Some of the funds went into the purchase of crop farming equipment to facilitate operations. The Fund’s multipronged approach sought to:

  • commit significant capital to the rehabilitation of the soil to ensure higher productive capacity;
  • provide on-ground agronomic support by bringing onboard a professional farmer for about 18 months;
  • upgrade pig enterprise expertise by recruiting international vets from the Philippines to stay on the farm for about 27 months;
  • provide technical assistance to upskill local co-operatives around the farm;
  • work with the government to conduct cultivar testing for maize and soya as well as to explore pig strains for commercial production.

Additionally, WEF has a 44-year lease to develop more land; potentially with government subsidies. The AAF SME Fund will retain the option to fund WEF to develop this additional farming area over the life of the investment.

Our Impact

Improved Livelihoods

  • Increased number of farm staff from 10 to 70 post-investment
  • Invested €200,000 through TAF in an outgrower scheme. This enabled over 120 farmers to market their produce in collaboration with WEF

Enhanced Food Security

  • Engaged an independent agricultural expert to improve agronomic practices. Also  invested €171,000 through TAF for the introduction of professional agronomic experts and a full-time veterinary doctor
  • Testing of over 15 varieties of soya seed and 20 varieties of maize seed to determine the optimal cultivar which the government can also roll out nationally

Improved Business Operations

  • Introduced superior pig genetics with better productivity and food conversion
  • Improved piggery production run rate from 800 to 5,000 fy 2016
  • Expanded sow and weaner houses to improve biosecurity

ESG Impact

  • Improved governance
  • Improved employee welfare through continuous monitoring of chemical handling including understanding of ILO, AfDB and IFC Standards
  • Carbon footprint reduction through animal feed innovation by the potential substitution of maize with cassava