New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit packhouse operator, Bay of Plenty-based EastPack and kiwifruit orchard syndicator MyFarm Investments have formed a partnership to accelerate New Zealanders access to, and investment in, the kiwifruit sector.
The partnership brings together MyFarm’s extensive network of specialist rural land investors with EastPack’s expertise in growing, packing, and exporting kiwifruit and its world-class network of packhouses and cool stores.
It will see MyFarm buying kiwifruit orchards and then leasing them to EastPack. The lease is under MyFarm’s proprietary lease plus profit share model which provides the security of a minimum lease payment but with the bonus of profit share returns. MyFarm CEO, Andrew Watters says that this model has attracted more than $100 million of investor capital over the past four years. EastPack will meanwhile get the opportunity to make the most out of the significant investment it has made in orchard management and the kiwifruit supply chain.
The duo are kicking off the partnership with MyFarm’s Gold Income Limited Partnership, which has recently acquired Rangitaiki, a 15 canopy hectare SunGold™ orchard near Edgecumbe, which EastPack will lease for five years plus extensions. They have also agreed to further co-operate as new and suitable properties are found.
EastPack processes 25% of New Zealand’s kiwifruit crop, employing over 3700 people across six sites in Bay of Plenty during the packing season. The grower-owned cooperative won Business of the Year at the 2019 Westpac Tauranga Business Awards. EastPack’s subsidiary, Prospa, currently manages around 1100 hectares of kiwifruit orchards in Northland, Bay of Plenty and Waikato.
MyFarm Investments has been gradually building its presence in the kiwifruit sector since enabling investors to purchase their first Bay of Plenty orchard in 2017. Today just under 400 MyFarm investors have a stake in 9 orchards, growing 106 cha of predominantly SunGold™ kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty region.
MyFarm’s Gold Income Limited Partnership is currently open to wholesale investors and is seeking $13million in capital to acquire the Rangitaiki orchard.
EastPack CEO Hamish Simson (pictured) says the cooperative has been leasing orchards for more than 20 years.
“Until now we have not partnered with a professional, independent investor group from outside the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit industry. This is a great opportunity to broaden our customer base. Meanwhile, Rangitaiki is a new development that will deliver further throughput for our Edgecumbe site and reward us for our investment in our Orchard Management arm, Prospa,” says Simson.
MyFarm CEO Andrew Watters says EastPack’s well planned and structured approach to orchard management makes them a great choice for Gold Income LP’s latest orchard. It is also an exciting opportunity to work with a cooperative that is single-mindedly focused on efficiency and driving value in the New Zealand Kiwifruit sector.
“EastPack’s packhouses feature the most impressive use of automation and robotics I’ve seen in New Zealand horticulture. We are looking forward to extending our cooperation with EastPack team which is a clear leader in the sector.