Pre-investment Technical Assistance by LDN TAF




Bambara beans

Business model

WhatIF Foods (WhatIF) is a Singaporean food tech start-up offering plant-based milks and instant noodles – with more products to come – all made with the Bambara beans. Through its business model WhatIF aims to combine food production with restoration of degraded farming land. Furthermore, social transformation at community level by partnering with famers directly – without middlemen in-between – is at the core of WhatIF’s approach.

WhatIF sources Bambara beans from smallholders in the north of Ghana. They provide inputs (seeds and biochar) training and fair prices. They have ambitious goals to:

  • Establish and grow the market for Bambara-based products to underpin the work with farmers and lands in Ghana;
  • Build processing factory and a biochar factory which would lead to better soil health, CO2 storage in the soil and would reduce reliance on energy from fossil fuels;
  • In long term, to work with 75% of the communities in northern Ghana to produce 350,000 MT of Bambara beans;
  • Source all Bambara beans from regenerative partnerships with communities and their lands; and
  • Create jobs, better nutrition, and meaningful livelihoods for millions of Ghanaians.

Investment need

WhatIF is now looking for investment to build Bambara bean processing factoring combined with biochar factory enabling them to produce soil-restoring biochar in partnership with Bambara smallholder farmers and process Bambara beans locally and on a larger scale.

Technical assistance

Technical assistance support will enable WhatIF to include the financing of the biochar factory in their investment proposal, which includes the following objectives:

  • Circular economy model feasibility: concept development of the ingredients & biochar factory, pilot production of biochar, impact study of biochar application on the soils;
  • Scale up a regenerative value chain around the Bambara bean in partnership with smallholder farming communities (with the majority women farmers) and local organizations; and
  • Understand gender dynamics within WhatIF and to develop an ambitious gender equality strategy.

Technical assistance support from the LDN TAF does not constitute a commitment from the LDN Fund, or Mirova, to finance directly or indirectly the project described above. Any such commitment shall be subject to inter alia, a detailed technical, financial and legal due diligence of the company and the project, as well as all required LDN Fund investment committee approvals and satisfactory documentation.