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Avocado shipper establishes vertical integration in South Africa

Mission Produce, Inc, which sources, produces and distributes fresh Hass avocados with additional offerings in mangos and blueberries, announced a joint venture with ZZ2 Boerdery, a South African farming company and Criterion Africa Partners, a private equity firm developing assets within the forestry value chain in Sub-Saharan Africa. The joint venture company, Selokwe Agri, is expected to expand to over 1,000 hectares of avocado orchards in the premium-growing region of Limpopo, South Africa.

Selokwe Agri is expected to expand to over 1,000 hectares of avocado orchards in the premium-growing region of Limpopo, South Africa.

“As global demand for avocados continues to grow,¹ establishing additional sources of owned production through vertical integration is a key element of our sourcing strategy to promote increased supply reliability,” said Steve Barnard, founder and chief executive officer, Mission Produce. “South Africa is the second largest exporter of avocados to the European Union and the United Kingdom during the summer season.¹ So, our new investment in the region is expected to support our expansion in export markets, especially in conjunction with the anticipated March opening of our newest forward distribution center in the UK.”

Partnering with ZZ2 and CAP to vertically integrate the company's operations in South Africa leverages the expertise of each shareholder to maximize the production and distribution potential of the region. CAP established Selokwe as part of its higher and better-use investment strategy, which creates value through the improved utilization of land, water and labor resources in South Africa and increases employment opportunities in its regional communities. ZZ2 also brings its expertise in avocado cultivation and environmentally conscious farming to maintain compliance with CAP’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, including the maintenance of the Global G.A.P. and Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) certifications.

Left to right: Steve Barnard, Keith Barnard 

“The avocado seasonality of South Africa extends our supply availability by approximately two to three months before Peru’s peak season and is expected to bring a long-term benefit in our ability to offer a year-round supply of ripe Hass avocados,”  said Keith Barnard, senior vice president of sourcing, Mission Produce.

ZZ2 has currently developed more than 250 hectares of avocados at Selokwe, which are expected to be harvested for the first time this 2023 season. Mission has engaged Core Fruit to manage its logistics and transportation to the European market, where the majority of the volume from South Africa is planned for distribution.

“The opportunity to grow the avocado market in Europe is significant– in 2022, the EU’s per capita consumption was 3.3 pounds, compared to the U.S.’s 8.5 pounds,”¹ added Barnard.  

¹ FruitTrop Magazine. September-October 2022.

For more information:
Jenna Aguilera
Mission Produce 

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