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Blood Tribe expanding forage business

The Blood Tribe is expanding its on-reserve forage processing and export business, thanks in part to a growth equity investment from Indigena Capital, LP.

Kanai Forage, the Blood Tribe’s forage business, was established in 1997. Kanai Forage grows and processes timothy hay and alfalfa in southern Alberta. The forage is exported to international markets such as Japan, Korea, the Middle East and China.

Indigena’s investment will allow Kanai Forage to expand its storage and processing capacity. Kanai Forage is a subsidiary of the Blood Tribe Agricultural Project, which also includes cereal and potato operations. The Blood Tribe, also known as Kanai First Nation, operates the largest irrigation project in Canada.

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“Kainai Forage will play a key role in growing the on-reserve economy and providing employment and advancement opportunities for our membership, while positioning the Blood Tribe as a broader participant in global agricultural businesses,” said Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox in a release. “With a proven track record of partnering with Indigenous Nations to provide capital to build opportunities based on our advantaged rights, Indigena is an ideal partner to accelerate the expansion of our agribusinesses.”

Indigena Capital has partnered with Tribal Nations in the U.S., along with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. Indigena has invested $450 million of direct capital and sourced $1.7 billion in joint venture capital in over 70 transactions. Indigena has also invested in commercial enterprises with the Blood Tribe since 2012. Financial terms of the latest investment weren’t disclosed in the release.

“Kainai Forage is our inaugural investment in the agriculture sector and will be the first of many investments designed to maximize Indigenous participation in agriculture,” said Christine Robertson, president of Indigena Capital’s parent company, Indigena Holdings. “Indigenous Nations have tremendous land and water rights which, when coupled with requisite capital and expertise, can be deployed to build sustainable, scalable economies for their communities.”

The Blood Tribe is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy and a Treaty 7 Nation. Located about 200 kilometers south of Calgary, the Blood Tribe has the largest reserve in Canada, encompassing nearly 560 square miles, with over 13,000 members.

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