Dutch impact investor FMO has proposed a $10 million (€10.3 million) investment in Taprobane Seafoods (TSF), one of Sri Lanka's leading seafood exporters, with a further $5 million (€5.2 million) coming in 2023.
With a workforce made up largely of Sri Lanka's war widows, TSF processes blue swimming crab and vannamei shrimp, which it began farming two years ago, becoming the first Sri Lankan company to do so.
The funds will be used for capex investments that will further strengthen TSF’s value chain. The investments include rehabilitating abandoned shrimp farms owned by TSF and by third-party growers, investing in new farms, circular tanks and hatcheries, in a new processing facility and for other general capex investments.
Telling IntraFish about the investment, CEO Tim O'Reilly emphasized the rigorous process that was undergone for the investment proposal to be made.
"It's not so much about the money, but the quality of the lender," he said.
"They visited the country and carried out an extensive due diligence, not just on financials, but on social, sustainability and environmental performance. This backs up what we are saying about what we do.
"While it's a been a challenging time for Sri Lanka, it's great to see FMO's belief in our business model."
Established in 2010, TSF has one main processing facility and 14 mini-processing facilities, employing over 2,000 full-time employees, predominantly underprivileged women, including war widows, throughout the northern and northwestern provinces of Sri Lanka.
The shrimp processed by TSF are supplied by its own farms and third-party growers. The crab are wild-caught and supplied by local fishermen. TSF exports seafood products globally under its own brand and for third parties.
If approved, the proposed funds will bring FMO's investment in the producer to $15 million (€15.5 million) to date.
'Because TSF is a relatively new player in a matured industry, it has the advantage to leapfrog with the latest technology and best aquaculture practices in the sector, supported by international partners in the industry," said an FMO spokesperson of the investment, also citing its integrated farm to fork model and its active empowerment of women in management and other positions in its operations.
"TSF is known to encourage actively women to start working and making a living wage, and to participate women as farmers or otherwise throughout its supply chain," it said.
The fund also referenced the company's Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) standards, and its work towards Aquaculture Stewardship Counsel (ASC) certification.