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Good Nature Agro Transforms Small Farms into Big Business with $10 Million Revenue in Zambia

Good Nature Agro (GNA), a company founded by American-born Carl Jensen in collaboration with co-founders in Zambia, has demonstrated that small farms can be big business, boasting an impressive $10 million in revenue. GNA’s success lies in its unique approach to smallholder farming, transforming challenges into opportunities.

Agriculture in Africa is often characterized by small-scale farmers facing challenges such as low yields, limited resources, and poverty. GNA, however, has turned this narrative around by engaging with over 20,000 small-scale farmers in Zambia, primarily focusing on crops like cowpea, soya bean, and groundnuts.

At the heart of GNA’s business model is a symbiotic relationship with smallholder farmers. The company contracts farmers to grow specific crops, purchases the produce, and sells it at a profit. Beyond simple trade, GNA provides comprehensive support, including loans for high-quality seeds, agricultural inputs, continuous farming guidance through private extension agents, and financial and digital literacy training.

GNA’s success is evident in its positive impact on farmers’ incomes. Before GNA’s involvement, farmers earned an average net income of $113 per hectare. GNA’s goal has been to raise this to $600 per hectare, and recent results indicate significant progress, surpassing the $600 average for farmers in its network.

The company’s expansion into seed production proved to be a pivotal move. GNA responded to the demand for high-quality legume seeds, becoming a key player in the market. Today, GNA supplies seeds to various clients, including white-labeling for major seed companies and collaborating with industry giant Cargill.

A cornerstone of GNA’s success is its private extension agents (PEAs), who play a crucial role in educating and supporting smallholder farmers. These agents receive a fixed salary and a percentage of the revenue generated from the farmers they oversee, aligning their interests with maximizing farmers’ productivity.

In addition to seed production, GNA has diversified into food crops, operating three commodity processing facilities in Zambia. The company’s foray into financing assets, from agricultural equipment to mobile phones, showcases its commitment to the holistic development of farmers.

While navigating challenges such as macroeconomic issues and currency fluctuations, GNA has attracted significant international investment. A recent $8.5 million Series B equity round, with contributions from investors like Goodwell Investments, Oikocredit International, and Global Partnerships, underscores confidence in GNA’s potential for further growth.

Reflecting on the journey, Carl Jensen acknowledges the importance of deep engagement with farmers and realistic financial planning. GNA’s success story not only highlights the potential for small farms to be lucrative but also exemplifies sustainable and inclusive agricultural practices that contribute to rural development.

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