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Agro-Ecological raises kiwifruit project capital – updated

The New Zealand-based investment firm has raised NZ$1m of a NZ$3m - NZ$4m target to start developing a kiwifruit project.

Agro-Ecological, a New Zealand-based multi-strategy agriculture management firm, has raised NZ$1 million ($850,000; €600,000) from a small family office to start developing a kiwifruit project, according to Geoff Burke, co-founder and managing director at the company.

The family office capital injected is managed by Rufo Quintavalle, principal in a multi family office that he did not want to disclose. Quintavalle is also invested in Agro-Ecological, the company.

The project will become a limited partnership structure to attract more investors in order to raise NZ$3 million to NZ$4 million in total.

Kiwifruit is a very attractive sector for investment despite the outbreak of a virus called PSA from 2010 onwards that has hugely depleted production of the fruit in New Zealand, according to Burke.

“The kiwifruit industry has had a tough time in the wake of the PSA virus but we have now found a resistant variety,” said Burke. “There will still be a transition period as the new product comes in line, but returns are still pretty good.”

The kiwifruit investment is expected to return over 10.75 percent a year after four years and after management fees. The fees were not disclosed.

Agro-Ecological is also working on a NZ$150 million direct investment into pastoral land in New Zealand for an institutional investor. The firm has already been working on establishing offtake agreements with organic processing company in order to get premium pricing for the cattle, but it will also make agreements with non-organic processors.

Agro-Ecological employs an “ecologically constructive management system” in the management of its land to improve the soil’s organic matter and biodiversity. This can also be known as regenerative agriculture.

The firm’s 10-year pastoral fund is still open and attracting commitments for a NZ$200 million to NZ$300 million target.