Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

ANB and Norfund Join Forces to Transform South Africa’s Citrus Industry

In a groundbreaking partnership set to reshape South Africa’s citrus landscape, the ANB Group, a prominent agricultural giant, is teaming up with Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries. This collaboration promises not only commercial expansion but also a profound impact on the environment, society, and the citrus value chain as a whole.

Marcel O’Connell, CFO of the ANB Group, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “The partnership with Norfund will significantly impact our growth trajectory and will benefit not only our individual companies but also those growers and service providers that form part of our ecosystem. Combined, our Group permanently employs 2,200 people, and during the citrus season, this number soars to above 6,000. The benefit of an investment like this has a far-reaching impact on people’s livelihoods.”

Empowering Communities and the Environment

While the partnership is undoubtedly a catalyst for commercial expansion, it also opens the door to expanding corporate social investment initiatives and enhancing the group’s environmental goals. AJ Esser, co-CEO of the ANB Group, stressed the organization’s commitment to improving lives in the communities surrounding their operations and among their staff. With this investment and the ensuing expansion, the ANB Group is set to elevate its creches and staff wellness programs, enriching the lives of those they touch.

The ANB Group’s comprehensive approach spans the entire fruit value chain, from developing and commercializing cultivars, running tissue culture laboratories for plant propagation, fruit farming and packing, to fruit marketing and branding activities. This integrated approach ensures quality and consistency at every step.

A Transformative Investment

The infusion of capital from this partnership will primarily fund the erection of orchard netting infrastructure, safeguarding harvests from hail, wind, and excessive sun exposure. Presently, 42% of the group’s 2,556 hectares of citrus are under net protection. However, with this capital injection, an impressive 67%, equivalent to 1,704 hectares, will be shielded from the elements.

AJ Esser highlights the wide-reaching benefits of netting, stating, “Higher volumes of improved quality fruit enable brands like ClemenGold® premium mandarins to meet the high demand for superior citrus quality in 45 countries. This enhances opportunities for all partners and supports retailers in providing the best in citrus to their customers.”

A Sustainable Vision

Norfund’s purpose in this collaboration is to create jobs and improve living conditions through investments in sustainable businesses. Simen Øby, investment director at Norfund, underscores the impact on South African agriculture and poverty reduction, emphasizing the importance of creating new jobs and resilience in the region.

Sustainability is a key focus for the ANB Group, as they work towards reducing their carbon footprint and implementing energy-efficient production processes. They are already investing in solar panels, but there’s an ongoing commitment to improving electricity efficiency, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and further decreasing their carbon footprint. The installation of more solar panels at farms and packhouses is on the horizon, solidifying their dedication to environmental responsibility.

The ClemenGold® mandarin brand, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, places a strong emphasis on consistently high-quality fruit. Protecting crops against hail, sun, and wind damage is vital to maintain the brand’s quality and external appeal, ensuring long-term consumer loyalty and stability in the value chain. The ANB Group, along with its fruit marketing arm, Fruitalyst, annually distributes a remarkable 145,000 tonnes of citrus under eight different brands.

In conclusion, the ANB Group’s collaboration with Norfund marks a turning point in South Africa’s citrus industry. This partnership is not just about growth but also about making a lasting impact on the environment, society, and the lives of countless individuals in the citrus value chain. As the ANB Group and Norfund join forces, they pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future for South Africa’s citrus industry.