Investing in African agri-processors for regenerative change

Grounded Investment Company is on a mission to help drive the transition to regenerative farming systems in Africa and make sustainable agriculture profitable for African farmers.

Transforming the agri-processing landscape in Africa

Grounded Investment Company is an impact investment cooperative that concentrates on a key leverage point in the food system: the processing industry. Processing companies are well-positioned in the value chain, with the economic heft to generate tangible impact for thousands of farmers. We are backed by a growing group of investors who are equally committed to transforming the food system.

Theory of change

Our team developed this Theory of Change, which is rooted in 10 years of practical experience working with farmers on regenerative agriculture, and building value chains to support their work.

The challenge and opportunity

Africa’s food processing industry plays a significant role in economic development on the continent and has huge potential to meet the growing global demand for regenerative and organically certified food products. It has readily available supply and, thanks to the wealth of subtropical landscapes, an agro-ecological competitive advantage that can meet increasing market appetite. So what’s missing?

The middle. While the companies themselves are there – thousands of small and medium-sized primary processing businesses scattered across the continent – the majority of them struggle to produce high-quality products, obtain relevant certifications to access premium markets and match the demands of western capital providers. Although there is significant potential, many of these agri-processors remain small and underinvested.

Why regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that goes well beyond organic farming and sustainable principles; it aims to reverse the decline of an agro-ecosystem and kickstart a new ecology that is continually restoring itself. It is a holistic management system that values the microbes in the soil as much as it does food security and the whole engine of food production. As a result, the farmer, the soil and the biodiversity all become richer. Since 2013, Grounded has been on a regenerative agriculture journey alongside farmers, accumulating invaluable insights and lessons that will be shared with The Grounded Investment Company portfolio.

Passionate and impact driven team

Our passionate and impact driven team is proud of their deep operational experience and local presence in East Africa, Southern Africa & Europe. We decided to take the skills, networks and lessons learned from a combined 50 years of experience building regenerative value chains and raise a fund to radically scale our impact.

What others have to say

Our collaboration with Grounded Investment Company is a combination of strengths. Grounded brings in long-term equity investment, complemented by Rabo Foundation’s financing—particularly in working capital and trade finance. Grounded’s business support services for early-stage businesses go beyond standard assistance, actively managing these businesses and bringing in sector expertise in traceable and regeneratively-produced ingredients. This approach is a real added value for impact lenders like ourselves, especially in promoting financial inclusivity for smallholder farmers. This collaboration is a strong force for positive change at the grassroots level, aligning with our joint commitment to social and environmental impact.

Henry Kahira - Project Manager – Africa, Rabo Foundation

Grounded Investment Company (GIC) invests in companies with solid fundamentals, sustained growth potential, and outsized regenerative impact. The world is at the beginning of a major transition from industrialized food systems focused on maximizing productivity to a system that optimizes nutrition security, climate resilience, and biodiversity protection. The GIC is a leader in strengthening and growing companies that deliver regenerative outcomes.

TIFS assessed the GIC using a systemic investment assessment that combines a scientifically rigorous true cost assessment framework with impact investing best practices. Our assessment shows that the GIC is fit for purpose; the fund is designed to deliver impact and uses a truly holistic approach to regenerative food and agricultural investing.

Rex Raimond - Director, Transformational Investing in Food Systems (TIFS)
We are very happy about our new investing partner GIC. They have been consistently supportive, painstaking and patient. They have visited us several times and really got to know who we are and what we are about as a business, and have already helped us to think more professionally in a number of ways. We are looking forward to working closely with them, and seeing the results in better and more sustainable livelihoods of the families in our community.
Andy Carlton - Zombo Coffee Partners Founder and Managing Director
DOEN is a long term partner of Grounded – the manager of the GIC – and we have seen the organization become more mature over time. It is fantastic that they have been able to develop an investable business case to promote regenerative agriculture on the African continent.
Mirjam Niessen, DOEN Participations (Investor in Grounded Investment Company)