The project stems from an interest in expanding into new and emerging markets, said a Land O’Lakes spokesperson. It was executed in March and publically released in August.
“We continue to explore business opportunities in new markets around the globe,” she told FeedNavigator. “We see Africa as a high-potential growth market.”
Both companies are expected to bring their complementary animal feed ranges to the Bidco Land O’Lakes LTD joint venture.
The move marks a progression of work the Minnesota-based company has been doing in Africa, added the spokesperson.
The tie-up with Kenya-based Bidco is set to develop a range of products to meet or improve production animal nutritional needs, said Land O’Lakes.
Establishing a better feed supply is expected to promote animal health, boost yields and potentially improve agricultural productivity and food security.
“In East Africa, Bidco is a respected brand name for many products, including feed,” said the spokesperson. “We are always looking for partners – in the US and abroad – that share our growth goals and with whom we can deliver increased value.”
The Kenyan company is said to work with a network of more than 30,000 farmers in 17 countries in Africa.
Bidco offers an understanding of the market and distribution networks in East Africa, said Land O’Lakes. And, in addition to feed, it works with vegetable oils and fats in both East and Central Africa.
Farmers in Kenya need access to critical resources like high quality feed or their efforts will be both inefficient and ineffective, said Vimal Shah, president and CEO of Bidco Africa.
Land O’Lakes brings its background in feed quality and safety, along with its feed and product portfolio to the partnership, the agribusiness company said. “We are committed to ensuring that any growth opportunity is carefully evaluated to ensure long-term success for Land O’Lakes and its partners in Africa and developing countries elsewhere,” added the spokesperson.
Both companies will have equal ownership in the joint venture, reported Land O’Lakes. Initial feed development and sales are focused on efforts in Kenya, but expansion into neighboring countries is anticipated as the project develops.
Additionally, the project partners said an aim is to generate new, "value-added" feed products to address specific needs for the region.
However, an exact timeline on when feed production or distribution would start is still in progress, said the spokesperson. Details are being also still being hammered out regarding where the feed products will be manufactured and in what volume.
The companies are also in the process of establishing the exact species focus for initial product release and development, she said.
Past expansions in Africa
Prior to the work with Bidco, Land O’Lakes had established a joint venture with Villa Crop Protection in South Africa to offer crop input products.
Land O’Lakes also has a long-term history of work in developing countries through the non-profit Land O’Lakes International Development, it said. Those projects look to move farmers from subsistence to profitable farm production.
“We have more than 30 years of experience working in [helping] producers in emerging markets develop farming and dairy practices that help them feed their communities and build their businesses,” said the spokesperson.