Agris and Granot International Ltd enter joint venture, with support from AgDevCo, to develop avocado research and production hub in Kenya

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, with investment from AgDevCo.

The partnership combines Granot’s expertise as one of the world’s biggest avocado producers with Agris’ local knowledge, deep operational experience and portfolio of agricultural and forestry businesses across East Africa. Granot operates the largest avocado packing house in Israel and 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. Ndabibi farm will allow them to secure year-round avocado production for their new marketing arm.

‘Ndabibi is an exciting step for 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. ‘As a world-leading avocado producer and marketing company Granot’s expertise will take production up a gear. It also allows us to 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. This aligns with our strategic plan to become a global player in the avocado market. In this partnership we’ve found the East African experience and presence we need. Our values are aligned and I’m confident the collaboration between us will be greater than the sum of our parts.’

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.’

Ndabibi is Agris’ flagship investment and will become the company’s production hub and a world-class agricultural centre. The farm will increase production capacity of high- value crops primarily for export, as well as short-cycle crops for the local market, in line with Agris’ growth strategy. 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.

At its peak, about 2,000 people will be employed at the farm, including horticulture operations, creating employment and training opportunities for local communities.

Agris and Granot enter joint venture

Read the full press release here.

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