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Swiss-based responsAbility provides $40m for Indonesia’s eFishery  

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Published: 17 July 2023

The investment is the latest from the Swiss investor’s second Sustainable Food-Asia fund and supports a company that has established itself as a key player in Indonesia’s  aquaculture sector in less than a decade.     

The cash injection is expected to support eFishery’s expansion, help smallholder farmers and promote sustainable practices | Hanson Lu on Unsplash

Swiss impact investment manager responsAbility has invested $40m from its Sustainable Food – Asia II fund in eFishery, an Indonesia-based aquaculture company providing fish and shrimp farmers with improved access to technology, feed, markets and finance. The funding is part of a wider investment in eFishery by international investors.  

The cash injection is expected to support eFishery’s expansion, help smallholder farmers and promote sustainable practices.

The funding from responsAbility is part of $200m of series D funding for eFishery, which was led by Abu Dhabi-based fund manager 42XFund, and backed by Malaysian public sector pension fund KWAP and venture capital firm 500 Global, as well as responsAbility. NorthStar, Temasek, SoftBank, and Aqua-Spark were among existing investors also investing.  

eFishery, founded in 2013 by CEO Gibran Huzaifah, is one of the region’s biggest recent agri-tech start-up successes. The series D funding boosted its valuation to well over $1bn.

Technology provided by eFishery includes a smart feeder device, which uses farm data to improve feeding, health and water quality,  as well as cutting wastage. It also provides access to markets and financing. The firm says it has provided access for 15,000 farmers to financial institutions worth more than $40m, and facilitated the sale of $149m of fish and shrimps and access to high quality feed worth $134m.  

eFishery also intends to expand its business exporting chemical and antibiotic-free shrimp, which it says will provide a link between farmers and end consumers that enables traceable, sustainable production. 

Rik Vyverman, global head of sustainable food equity at responsAbility, said that eFishery’s innovative business model, which meant it was involved across the value chain, made it “a very attractive investment which aligns with our goal of helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fostering a more sustainable and equitable agri-food industry”. 

Vyerman told Impact Investor in February that one of the Sustainable Food-Asia fund’s goals was to make Asian supply chains shorter as they tended to be very inefficient with multiple middle men and complex logistics, which could result in 30-40% food loss between the farm and the end consumer. 

In January, responsAbility said it had raised $173m (€161m) at the first close of the fund on the way to a targeted final close of $300-400m. The fund is taking significant minority stakes in companies across South Asia and Southeast Asia, which need to grow to cater for rapid growth in spending on food on the continent, which is projected to more than double to over $8trn by 2030, according to one 2021 report.  

The fund has attracted investments from institutional investors, including pension funds, insurance companies and family offices. 

Another regional food fund launched by responsAbility, the Sustainable Food Latin America fund, also reached first close in January, raising commitments of $101m from a $350m final target. In June, the impact investment manager also said it had mobilised $106m (€98m) for a blended finance strategy focused on “climate-smart” agriculture and food systems through investments from financial institutions. 

Since its creation in 2003, responsAbility has deployed over $13bn in impact investments, and currently manages $4.8bn of assets over around 280 companies in 74 countries. Since 2022, the firm has been part of M&G plc.

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