The Kgodiso Development Fund, an independent fund established by PepsiCo South Africa, has announced its investment in Khula!, a pioneering agritech app, in a bid to drive economic growth and bolster support for emerging farmers across South Africa.
Khula! stands as a ground-breaking digital ecosystem crafted to empower small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises, farmers, and distributors.
Founded by entrepreneurs Karidas Tshintsholo, Jackson Dyora, and Matthew Piper, Khula! swiftly emerged in the agricultural industry by leveraging disruptive technologies. It connects local farmers with agricultural input suppliers, bulk buyers, and crucially, financing, within a unified digital platform.
Bridging the gap
The recent injection of funds from the Kgodiso Fund aims to further Khula!’s mission by developing innovative strategies to sustainably finance emerging farmers. Tshintsholo, CEO of Khula!, emphasised the significance of creating a marketplace and ecosystem that fosters growth for farmers while addressing initial access-to-market challenges.
Setlakalane Molepo, chairman of the Kgodiso Fund, highlighted the alignment between Khula!’s objectives and their vision of empowering emerging farmers and promoting regenerative agricultural practices.
He stated, “Our investment and partnership with Khula! is exciting because it aligns with our commitment to empower emerging farmers and promote regenerative agriculture practices that build agri-business resilience.”
Eugene Willemsen, chief executive of PepsiCo in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, echoed the sentiment, underlining the strategic importance of partnering with innovators like Khula! to drive transformative change within the local food system while leveraging PepsiCo’s expansive market reach.
This partnership cements the commitment of the Kgodiso Fund and PepsiCo to foster sustainable farming enterprises, drive economic growth, and nurture a resilient food system in South Africa. Alongside existing shareholders Absaa, AECI, and E-squared, the collaboration fortifies Khula!’s position in providing crucial market access to emerging farmers.
Empowering new farmers
Tshintsholo expressed gratitude for the alliance, stating, “We are fortunate to have found a partner in the Kgodiso Development Fund and by extension in PepsiCo, which share our interest and vision.”
The Kgodiso Development Fund, formed as part of PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pioneer Foods in 2020, aligns with PepsiCo’s broader commitments toward socioeconomic development, education, and enterprise empowerment, with an initial investment of R600 million aimed at driving impactful change across the value chain.
PepsiCo, a global leader in beverages and convenient foods, is renowned for its diverse portfolio of iconic brands. In South Africa, the company’s commitment extends to brands like Weet-Bix, Simba, Liqui Fruit, Lay’s, SASKO, and White Star, aligning its operations with a vision centred on sustainability and positive societal impact.
The partnership between Kgodiso Fund, PepsiCo, and Khula! marks a pivotal moment in South Africa’s agricultural landscape, signalling a concerted effort to empower emerging farmers and revolutionise the sector through technology-driven solutions and strategic collaborations.
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