Mumbai, 13th April, 2023: ESG First Fund, managed by Aavishkaar Capital (Aavishkaar), an Aavishkaar Group company and a global pioneer in taking an entrepreneurship-based approach to scaling businesses for impact, and set up in partnership with KfW, a German state-owned development bank, announced their first investment of INR 16 Crores (1.95 Million USD) from the ESG First Fund into INI Farms.

ESG First Fund is a USD 250 Mn fund focused on investing in Asia and Africa with the mandate of generating superior Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) outcomes and commercially viable financial returns alongside positive social impact. The Fund was established with the primary objective of improving these areas especially along the supply chains serving the European markets.

Founded in 2009, by Purnima and Pankaj Khandelwal, INI Farms is a leading exporters of fruit and vegetable crops with large-scale pan-India operations spanning contract farming, aggregation, supply chain management and are serving food retailers globally. INI Farms is working closely together with AgroStar,  India’s leading agri-tech firm having built India’s largest agronomy advisory center, a highly engaged digital farmer network with over 5 million users, and a retail network of 2000+ stores.

Purnima Khandelwal, CEO & Co-founder, INI Farms said, “The agriculture story in India is poised for a multi-fold growth. We believe that large platforms providing end-to-end services to the farmers from advisory and inputs to output offtake is going to drive this transformation. This investment will provide us with a great opportunity to grow multi-fold with expansion into the entire agriculture output business and leveraging our strong supply chain capabilities.”

Commenting on the investment, Abhishek Mittal, Partner- Credit – Aavishkaar Capital said, “We are excited to invest in INI Farms and support them in their next phase of growth as it expands its product offering and geographical reach. INI’s Farms continued commitment to deliver export-quality fruits & vegetables produced in an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive manner and to exacting global standards, sets it apart to meet the growing demands of today’s conscientious consumer. INI along with Agrostar, is well placed to meet the demands of global markets while empowering farmer at the back-end. 

Aavishkaar Capital is excited to foray into structured credit products with ESG First Fund and we look forward to partnering with high growth businesses across Asia and Africa that are operating in global supply chains. We are committed to empowering such businesses with non-dilutive and flexible financial solutions that are better aligned to their growth needs.”

Stephanie Lindemann-Kohrs, Director Global Equity and Funds, KFW said “We at KfW are acting on behalf of the German Government in this Fund-Investment. Main objective of the initiation of this Fund is to improve the environmental and social standards, especially the working standards upstream to the European supply chain. German and European citizens want to purchase products which are produced in fair working conditions and are adhering good environmental and social standards. The Funds investment procedure follows a proper environmental and social due diligence, which sets uplifted standards for its investees. In that way we believe INI farms will demonstrate as a beacon the positive outcome of ESG adherence with improved business opportunities with Europe.”

Reinhard Junker, German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) said “With the German Supply Chain Act our government has enforced fair working conditions and social and environmental responsible production methods. With the allocation of 50 million EUR to this Fund, we want to further strengthen this development and support the SME in the producing partner countries to meet our values and standards.”

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