Having access to vertically integrated supply channels is a critical component of an effective permanent crop business model in New Zealand, which is why the Kakariki Fund has carefully chosen proven operational partners to help it succeed.
While the management of Kakariki will be undertaken by MyFarm, operational partners will be appointed to lease or manage the properties and provide supply chain services as required.
The four initial investments to be made by Kakariki will utilise the expertise of NZ-listed manuka honey exporter Comvita, Nelson-based holder of hop PVR licences Hop Revolution, Hawkes Bay-based apple exporter and marketing company Rockit Global and leading Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchard management and post-harvest operator DMS Progrowers. Other Fund partners include vertically integrated global fresh produce business Freshmax and Hastings-based Sacred Hill Vineyards.Each partner will bring specialised expertise to the respective Kakariki investments, ensuring they stand the highest chance of success.
Comvita's core business is the supply of manuka honey products principally to China, North America and the UK and accounts for approximately 50% of all honey with the unique manuka factor (UMF) trademark. Comvita is working with MyFarm to grow 'generation two' manuka seedlings developed through its 15-year breeding programme. These improved populations, which will be grown on select properties owned by Kakariki, exhibit much higher DHA levels than wild manuka; high DHA levels is the needed precursor to high UMF manuka honey which is so demanded by the marketplace.
Hop Revolution currently holds licences for highly sought after hop varieties covered by PVRs held by Plant & Food Research. It's ability to provide growers with high orchard gate returns is based on it contracting directly with craft brewers in the US. Hop Revolution will provide Kakariki with on-farm development and management services, cool-storage and palletisation services and assist with marketing, distribution and plant breeding.
Rockit Global has been very successful in positioning its Rockit apples as a premium product, with licenced growers in the UK, USA, Australia and throughout Europe. It has full control over its planting volumes, distribution channels and markets, and the arrangement with Kakariki will see it supply Rockit apple trees and licences. It will also pack, store and market the fruit that is produced.
DMS Progrowers is New Zealand owned and focused on providing services aimed at increasing orchard productivity and grower profits and manages more than 100 orchards with two packhouse facilities in the Bay of Plenty. Kakariki's investment in Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards will be leased to DMS on a profit share basis.
Freshmax has a strong presence in both Australia and New Zealand and its fresh produce business acts as an intermediary between growers and retailers. Its New Zealand business is focused on pipfruit including orchard management. Kakariki intends to form orchard management, post-harvest and marketing agreements with Freshmax for crops including apples, avocados, cherries and berries.
Finally, wine exporter Sacred Hill Vineyards has bases in 15 markets and is focused on building its business with multiple distributors in the US, Canada, Asia and Australia. Any future Kakariki investments in vineyards are likely to be leased to Sacred Hill Vineyards.