Craigmore Sustainables to invest $38 million in Northland

Craigmore Sustainables will invest $38 million to develop a large kiwifruit orchard in Northland, following approval from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

Article published on the NZ Herald website, 22 July 2019

Radio New Zealand talk-back interview, 23 July (listen from 3.07 minutes)

The company has purchased 137 hectares of established dairy farmland in Kerikeri for conversion into a kiwifruit orchard. The investment will increase local kiwifruit production by more than a third and create 29 full-time equivalent jobs.

The move follows recent approval from the Overseas Investment Office to purchase land in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne where Craigmore is investing $52 million in apple orchard development, creating almost 100 full-time equivalent jobs alongside a $30 million boost in exports.

Craigmore Sustainables chief executive Che Charteris says these investments are part of the company’s Permanent Crop business which is expanding and diversifying horticultural developments into key central and northern regions.

“New Zealand’s horticulture sector is a world leader in many areas, with exports growing at 7% per annum for the past 20 years, bringing with it increased regional development and employment.

“Our focus is to build the best New Zealand orchards producing top-selling fruits that include kiwifruit, apples, wine grapes, plus emerging crops such as cherries and avocados.”

Mr Charteris says access to capital is a barrier to realising the full potential of horticulture. Through its Permanent Crop Partnership, Craigmore is building over $200 million of horticultural businesses, with a large number being orchard conversions from pastoral land.

“One of our core sustainability values is right land, right use. New Zealand has vast areas of land that are well suited to grazing livestock, but there are also some areas that should be converted to horticulture and forestry.”

Craigmore still has around $50 million to allocate and with the current investment, is openly looking for minority investments in existing horticultural businesses, to help them grow.

“This is helping diversify the economy and create significant gains for regional communities as well as helping address soil and water challenges, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Mr Charteris.

“With the Kerikeri land for example, we’ll be planting riparian areas around the orchards, with indigenous species, to provide a buffer to waterways from sediment, nutrient and other runoff and to provide corridors for wildlife movement.”

“We are generating 10 times the benefits by farming only half of the land.”

Mr Charteris says Craigmore has strong support from the local council as well as local growers, packagers and exporters who can build their businesses alongside the developments.

“Ultimately, at a time of growing consumer demands for sustainable products and wider societal standards for managing farmland, Craigmore Sustainables’ mission is to support New Zealand’s reputation as a premium food and fibre supplier in a way that spreads the benefits across the regions of Aotearoa.”

Craigmore Sustainables is a New Zealand owned and controlled business, established to help fund development and grow regional New Zealand food and fibre businesses. While it predominantly uses European funding sources, all management and control is deferred to Craigmore which appoints and employs the local New Zealand management and governance for every business.