Finnfund supports the expansion of Yalelo Limited, an integrated tilapia aquaculture company in Zambia with a 6 million US dollar equity investment. It is the first direct investment by Finnfund in Zambia. Yalelo is the largest aquaculture company in Africa, producing 12,000 tons of tilapia annually. With the investments from Finnfund and Dutch FMO, Yalelo intends to expand its annual production to 25,000 tons.
The rising population of Zambia, together with significant overfishing, has created a challenge for food security. Sustainable aquaculture provides a solution: tilapia is one of the most efficient sources of protein and has a much lower carbon footprint than for example beef or pork. In order to ensure sustainable resource use, Yalelo has implemented a continuous water quality monitoring and management system.
Besides producing affordable protein, Yalelo is providing vital formal employment opportunities in both the production site as well as its distribution network, having a positive impact on the local economy. Currently, Yalelo employs over 800 people and another 200 jobs will be created as a result of the expansion.
“The aquaculture sector can transform the availability and affordability of high-quality protein in a resource efficient and sustainable manner”, says Jari Matero, Finnfund’s Associate Director and Head of Agri and Forestry portfolio.
Besides increasing food security, Yalelo is an important employer with great ambitions. Over 30% of the management is female and the company is constantly working towards further gender balance within its workforce.
“With this investment we will expand our capacity and respond to the need for affordable, high-quality protein”, says Adam Taylor, Chairman of Yalelo. “We take pride in providing our employees with jobs in a vulnerable rural area where few alternative employment opportunities exist.”
Yalelo operates an extensive internal training programme including aquaculture, business and leadership courses and runs literacy and numeracy classes for the community. Yalelo plans to become the first Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified tilapia fish farm in Sub-Saharan Africa.