Maris’ Agriculture, Forestry and Food division is looking to capture the growth in both domestic and export markets within the sector. Substantial inefficiencies exist within the sector and opportunities exist to develop large scale, vertically integrated operations.
Deforestation rates in Africa are double the global average, and with ever increasing pressure on land for food production Maris believes the forestry sector has been largely overlooked despite significant opportunity. Maris is therefore looking to develop a forestry business that targets both export opportunities and the rapid growth in domestic timber consumption. In 2012 Maris acquired a controlling interest in Equatoria Teak Company and Central Equatoria Teak Company, South Sudan’s leading sustainable teak company, and Africa’s second largest teak grower.
Maris also has a share in Tatepa, a leading Tanzanian plantation company, which grows tea and avocados through a network of over 14,000 outgrowers. Tatepa is the third largest tea producer in Tanzania, and currently the second largest producer of avocados.
These companies are major local employers and have extensive social programmes. Through its royalties Equatoria Teak Company is the largest private contributor to Western Equatoria State and its social fund has supported a range of local projects from the construction of a secondary school to vaccine storage facilities. Tatepa is partly owned by its outgrowers, to whom it provides extensive technical and financial support.