Simba Farms is a part of the Simba Group of companies, an East African conglomerate founded in 1998 that spans telecoms, hotels, property development, power generation, and most recently, farming & agribusiness.
East African food m¬arkets present a large and growing market. Currently, the total population of East Africa is approximately 300 million, and is expected to reach ~650 million by 2050. This fast population growth, combined with increasing aﬄuence and urbanisation, promises strong growth prospects for staple food products like maize (corn), beans, dairy and meat products. Over the last decade, East Africa has seen over a doubling in the price of staple foods like maize, and World Bank and US Department of Agriculture predict continued increase in regional food prices to the end of this decade. Uganda is uniquely positioned to serve this market due to its geographic positioning in the heart of the East African region, as well as its large tracts of untapped potential farmland.
Simba Group’s recent venture into the agribusiness space was motivated by the strong market opportunity as well as. One of the largest barriers facing entrants into commercial farming in Uganda is access to land. As an indigenous company, Simba is well-positioned to partner with landowners to gain access to large tracts of land. Simba is also well positioned for success because of our proven track record in successfully incubating new businesses. This venture encompasses farming, food processing, a ﬂedgling outgrower scheme (smallholder contract farming), and a waste to power plant (development phase). See below for pictoralf Simba’s agriculture division:
Simba’s currently has two farms in Uganda, a country which is positioned at the heart of East Africa. The Palaro farm is a large-scale crop farm in Northern Uganda, close to the large export market of South Sudan and with proximity to Kenya. Northern Uganda was embroiled in long-running conﬂict for decades, however, the area is now peaceful, stable and starting to grow. The Ibanda farm is a dairy farm in lush South West Uganda, ideally suited for dairy cows and strategically located for the populated and relatively aﬄuent South-West and Central parts of the country, as well as export to Rwanda and Northern Tanzania.
Rollout & Infrastructure
As an early stage venture, signiﬁcant focus to date has been on farm development and infrastructure roll-out. These activities have included: careful land clearing (with focus on top soil protection), soil preparation (including nitrogen ﬁxing activities), warehouse construction, road works, water and power system development, and worker accommodation. In addition, we have made signiﬁcant investment in farm machinery and basic crop processing equipment.
Products & Markets
Simba’s initial focus will be on staple food markets of East Africa, including maize (corn), beans & soya, dairy and livestock. Our Palaro crop farm is located close to South Sudan and easy proximity to Kenya, both of which have large food supply gaps. We have large storage and basic processing facilities at this location, and have plans to expand our processing capabilities. In addition, our venture will be serving the Uganda power market, selling electricity generated from our waste-to-power biomass plant to the Ugandan National Grid. Uganda has chronic undersupply of power currently, which is curbing industrial growth and rural development. This aspect of the project provides strong economics and risk diversiﬁcation.
In order to expand our acreage under production, we have established an outgrower scheme, with smallholder farmers producing for us under contract. This also satisﬁes our objective of promoting economic development and sustainable rural livelihoods. We have a supportive model of training, ﬁnance facilitation, improved planting inputs, and contracts at fair prices. We started this scheme in 2013 in Northern Uganda, and have already recruited ~3,000 farmers. Our objective is to grow this scheme to ~20,000 farmers, and to replicate the model.