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Agri-Fund 3 is open for business

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This fund invests in farmland in South Africa, with the aim of increasing and optimising the productive capacity of the land, and improving the lives of the workers on its farms.

The fund term is 12 years, to allow for the land to be developed to peak performance, and returns are primarily realised on the sale of the enhanced property on exit.

Farms are selected with their development potential in mind, their anticipated marketability at the end of the fund term, and their scope for contributing to sustainable food security and worker empowerment.

During the fund term, the farms are leased to an approved operator, who pays a lease fee to the fund and works with the fund on an agreed development plan. The operator is also obliged to spend the equivalent of 0.5% of its lease value on fund-approved healthcare and educational programmes for its workers.

Further details on the Futuregrowth Agri-Fund 3 can be found on here.

Our Agri-Fund 1

Our inaugural agri-fund, the Futuregrowth Agri-Fund 1, was launched at the end of 2010. The underlying ethos and mandate of this fund remains the same for the Agri-Fund 3.

The four farms in our Agri-Fund 1 have contributed to the regions in which they operate by providing 441 permanent jobs (in 2017) and up to 2 070 seasonal jobs. Over the year, 408 workers received prepaid healthcare. In addition, 71 received adult education, 543 agricultural training and 6 management training. Housing for 1 431 workers has also been built or upgraded since acquisition.

On the first farm investment, a citrus farm in Marble Hall, production more than doubled in the first three years of fund ownership, through improved farming practices. In addition, 190 hectares of new orchards have been developed, and 50 hectares of aging orchards have been replaced with more profitable varieties. Furthermore, on the fund’s Northern Cape Grape Farms, the overall total hectares of vineyards have almost doubled through the fund’s expansion programmes.

Worker empowerment: Madona’s story

Madona Mtsa become a permanent worker on the Agri-Fund 1 Marble Hall farm shortly after acquisition. Prior to this, she worked as a casual labourer on a neighbouring farm, with very few benefits or prospects for advancement. She immediately embraced the range of opportunities offered through the Agri-Fund to expand her skills and grow in her job, which evolved to include a variety of functions, including orchard management, amongst others.

Madona has actively participated in the Fund’s AET programme since it was launched in 2011. She passed Communication level 2 in 2013, and followed this with several AET level 4 courses, with the potential to start Foundational Learning Competence (FLC) or Matric courses in the near future. This is a remarkable achievement in an environment where the majority of workers are illiterate due to either a lack of quality education in the area or due to having to work at a very young age to provide for the family.

Along with her fellow permanent workers, Madona was enrolled in the Fund’s OCSACare pre-paid healthcare programme in 2012, which has given her access to a CareCross doctor whenever needed. Through OCSACare, she obtained spectacles in 2014 and feels that she “can now see the world better and clearer”.

The Agri-Fund has made considerable investments into building and upgrading farm worker housing and the Marble Hall operator runs regular workshops on the care and maintenance of these properties. 

A project was started next to the housing units in 2014 where interested workers were taught how to grow their own vegetables. The farm now supplies these workers with seedlings and land which can be used free of charge to create their own food gardens. This project has enabled Madona to add nutritious spinach, potatoes, beetroot, peppers and onions to her food basket - a significant benefit in terms of both personal wellbeing and self-empowerment.

Through her efforts, together with the platform provided by the Agri-Fund’s programmes, Madona’s sense of purpose and accomplishment has undeniably become “better and clearer” – along with her eyesight.   

Click here to visit our positive impact section for more community development stories.      

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