Mirova announces the 10th investment of its sustainable land use strategy, aimed at supporting the development of Aqre Group, a leading producer of natural ingredients for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and beverage industry. The $US 10 million investment will specifically allow the implementation of sustainable land management practices in Madagascar in partnership with thousands of smallholder farmers.

Madagascar is among the 10 poorest countries in the world with 81% of the population living on less than $1.90 per day as of 20221. Living conditions remain dire for many, especially rural dwellers. Due to a lack of funds, many farmers practice the “slash-and-burn” agriculture2 which leads to rapid yield declines in just a few seasons and increased land degradation due to depletion of nutrients and erosion.

In order to reverse such trends, providing funding and assistance for sustainable land management practices and agroforestry is essential.

Aqre Group (Aqre) specializes in the production and extraction of artemisinin and quinine under a vertically integrated model involving raw material production with smallholder farmers, processing, value-added creation, and distribution. The company operates in Madagascar under two entities, Bionexx and Qimpexx, and has developed an innovative programme dedicated to generating positive environmental and social impacts.

Aqre especially supports smallholder farmers by providing seedlings, equipment, and training on better agroforestry practices, contributing to:
  • better land management,
  • landscape restoration,
  • improved livelihoods in the region.
The $ 10 million funding provided by Mirova will allow Aqre to:
  • directly improve the livelihoods of 32,000 smallholder farmers in rural areas through complementary revenues from artemisia and cinchona production.
  • to prevent soil degradation over 13,000+ha through permanent cover, and to improve soil fertility management and agroforestry.
For this transaction, Aqre group relied on RebelGroup as the sole financial advisor.

In addition, leading up to the investment, Aqre received support from the Technical Assistance Facility, managed by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). To deepen their social and environmental impacts through this investment, Aqre, Mirova and IDH are in the process of co-designing interventions aimed at increasing biodiversity through agroforestry, advancing gender equality and increasing smallholder income by exploring the potential for a carbon program.
So far, Mirova has invested in more than 30 projects worldwide in the space of natural capital.

Johann Fourgeaud, Investment Director at Mirova : “We are very proud to team up with Aqre. The production of value-added ingredients together with vertical integration can become a powerful engine to efficiently support the implementation and dissemination of sustainable land management practices. Aqre has the ambition to generate significant environmental and social impacts together with solid economic development benefits”.

For further reading:
1 Source: World Bank, 2022.
2 Slash-and-burn agriculture stands for a method of cultivation in which forests are burned and cleared for planting.

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