Maris’ Agriculture and Forestry division is targeting growth in both domestic and export markets within the sector. The increasing pressure on land for food, against a backdrop of inefficient agricultural operations, presents numerous opportunities to develop large scale, vertically integrated agricultural businesses in Africa. Furthermore, with deforestation rates in Africa at double the international average, and global demand for timber rising, there is a compelling opportunity to develop sustainable timber plantations that build long term value, whilst utilising the abundant space available throughout the region.
In 2012 Maris acquired a controlling interest in 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.