The gold lying within the hills of Central Otago has tempted many over the years, but another investment is delivering a more certain promise of returns from those same hills, without the blood, sweat and tears that accompanied gold mining. Cherries are rapidly becoming the “new gold” for Central Otago, offering a high value crop capable of delivering exceptional returns thanks to the high quality fruit the region is renowned for.
MyFarm is offering investors the opportunity for the first time to tap into the exciting prospects Central Otago offers for cherry growing, through its 96ha Central Cherry Orchard Partnership offering. The venture promises to be one of the largest modern cherry orchards in Central Otago, and represents the investor’s first move into a promising high value horticultural sector.
MyFarm chief executive Andrew Watters says for many years New Zealand’s cherry sector has been a quiet performer, delivering sound returns to a relatively small pool of orchard owners. “But increasingly we are seeing Asian markets, and particularly China get a real taste for New Zealand cherries. They are recognised for their exceptionally high quality and freshness, and New Zealand has become very competent at growing, harvesting and delivering them to market in very short time.”
New Zealand growers are also in the geographically fortunate position of being the closest in the world to the Asian market, enhancing the sense of freshness and quality the fruit commands. Estimates are this season 1.9 million 2kg boxes of cherries will be picked and airfreighted fresh to China and the rest of Asia to arrive in time for Chinese New Year in February.
Alongside the high quality New Zealand cherries are renowned for is their exceptional health giving attributes, being rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
“New Zealand’s cherry sector is tiny, at less than 800ha it’s not much bigger than a large dairy farm, but we are witnessing a significant increase in demand that this venture is going to help meet,” says Andrew Watters.
My Farm’s team found a 96ha site near Clyde exhibiting all the hallmarks of an ideal cherry orchard, with good elevation lowering frost susceptibility, a suitable affordable water supply, and good soils. “But most importantly we have been able to secure sufficient trees to plant 15ha straight away and all bar 5ha the following year. This is in an environment where delays on tree stocks have been up to three years, so we are very fortunate to be able to get started straight away, with land already identified.”
Management of cherry orchards is critical to optimise yields of the high value fruit, and MyFarm has partnered up with orchard management and export company FreshMax to oversee orchard development ongoing operations.
Estimates by MyFarm are for the operation to return 12% a year from year six, moving to 38% by year 10 as the orchard reaches full maturity. Andrew Watters says interest in the opportunity has been strong, with almost 50% of the $12 million required funding already raised as investors seek to diversify their portfolios into the sector.
“Prospects for the New Zealand horticultural sector are particularly strong as the world seeks out high quality, healthy produce and cherries’ time has come with that – this will prove to be a very rewarding, ground breaking investment for MyFarm and anyone sharing the journey with us,” says Andrew Watters.
The offer to invest in Central Cherry Orchard Limited Partnership is open to wholesale investors from a minimum investment of $100,000. MyFarm is seeking to raise $12 million and the offer closes Tuesday 18 December.
MyFarm is a specialist rural investment business enabling investors to access the primary sector. During the past three years MyFarm has extended its range of rural investment opportunities to include green and gold kiwifruit, Marlborough sauvignon blanc vineyards, pipfruit orchards, avocado orchards, hop gardens, Manuka plantations and now cherry orchards. MyFarm has raised $44 million from 133 wholesale investors to date in 2018 for investments into hop gardens, avocado and kiwifruit orchards.
Further information about this offer can be found at https://myfarm.co.nz/central-cherry-orchard.
Andrew Watters, MyFarm CEO
P: 029 440 6605