By George Munene
Agris, the agriculture and forestry division of investment company Maris, and Granot, a leading avocado producer from Israel, are developing a 390-hectare avocado plantation at Agris’ flagship Ndabibi farm in Naivasha, Kenya.
Ndabibi farm will secure year-round avocado production for Granot’s new marketing arm which produces one-third of Israel’s total avocado yield with an annual revenue of more than USD 1.5 billion it is one of the largest cooperatives in the world.
At its peak, about 2,000 people will be employed at the farm creating employment and training opportunities for local communities.
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‘Ndabibi will benefit the whole of the Kenyan avocado industry, providing producers across the country with the technical research and development we need to put Kenya on the map as a major avocado producer,’ says Ran Kadosh, Agris CEO. ‘Granot’s expertise will take production up a gear and achieve greater scale through extension, packing, and marketing services for commercial out-growers.’
The market for avocados continues to grow in Europe. Favourable conditions in Naivasha, Kenya, produce high yields of quality fruit at a lower unit cost. Ndabibi farm enjoys ideal growing conditions and is less than a day’s travel to the international port of Mombasa, for sea links to Europe, and key emerging markets.
‘Our partnership with Agris and AgDevCo allows us to harness Kenya’s potential as one of the best places in the world to grow avocados,’ says Giyora Merom, CEO of Granot. ‘With a professional value chain, we can produce a superior product to other major producing regions. In this partnership, we’ve found the East African experience and presence we need.’
AgDevCo’s Chief Investment Officer, Chris Isaac, says: ‘We’re thrilled to be partnering with Agris and Granot to make this major investment in Kenya’s avocado industry, where there is so much potential to raise quality and develop new export markets. Our USD 8m mezzanine loan is flexibly structured to support new avocado orchards, which take three to four years to reach maturity. This project adds to our existing avocado investments in Tanzania and Mozambique, for a total of more than 1,250 hectares of production.’
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Ndabibi will serve as Agris’ production hub and a world-class agricultural center. The farm will increase the production capacity of high-value crops primarily for export, as well as short-cycle crops for the local market. Agris’ fast-expanding herb producer, Evergreen Herbs, will grow herbs and vegetables in open-field and greenhouses, which will be sold through Evergreen Fresh, Agris’ distribution company.