Italian kiwifruit packhouses' experience in dealing with COVID-19 has helped New Zealand to fast-track innovation in its own packhouses to deal with stringent new safety regulations.
Kakariki Fund Ltd, which is seeking $100 million, will invest in orchards, vineyards, plantations and farms that will be co-managed by horticulture processors and exporters.
The latter will include apple growers Rockit Global and Freshmax, Sacred Hill wines, craft beer hop grower Hop Revolution, Manuka honey producer Comvita and kiwifruit grower and packer DMS Progrowers.
Kakariki is being promoted by MyFarm Investments, which has raised $165m for investment in 18 individual orchard, vineyard, hop garden and manuka plantation businesses since 2015.
MyFarm chief executive Andrew Watters says the fund offers investors access to all horticulture sectors with a single $100,000 investment.
“There is really no other single investment that gives New Zealanders access to a diverse range of permanent crop businesses, or exposure to the intellectual property our partners have invested in their plant varieties and brand stories.”
The fund is targeting annual returns of 10% from earnings from the sale of crops through the partners and any increases in land values.
MyFarm says investors will benefit from exposure to all ventures in the portfolio, reducing the risks that come with investing in a business in a single geographic location and focused on a single crop.
Watters says forecast returns in each sector are strong, reflecting the success of NZ horticulture in providing consumers in high value export markets with a premium, high quality, great tasting product.
Rockit Global chief executive Austin Mortimer says: “We are delighted MyFarm is bringing this investment opportunity to NZ.
“The demand for Rockit apples is outstripping supply. MyFarm has a long history of agriculture and horticulture management as well as a solid understanding of our customers’ quality requirements.
“MyFarm is therefore an ideal partner to help us grow the NZ supply of Rockit Apples. We are looking forward to working with the Kakariki Fund, Andrew and the team.”
Rockit apples are currently grown in six European countries and in the US. To keep up with demand Rockit plans to expand its Hawkes Bay orchard plantings from 200ha today to 600ha by 2025.
Kakariki’s offer is initially for:
• An 11 canopy ha SunGold kiwifruit orchard in Bay of Plenty
• A 50% share in a large scale 130 canopy ha hop garden
• 35 canopy ha of Rockit apples
• A 2000ha manuka plantation development.
Kakariki will be run by independent directors who will make all investment and divestment decisions, headed by Julian Raine who is a Nelson orchardist, exporter and chair of Boysenberries NZ and NZ Dairy Desserts Ltd, and previous chair of Horticulture NZ.