In winter 2009, Norfund entered into an agreement to invest equity and extend a loan to Africado Ltd, an avocado plantation at the foot of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The height and climate make it possible to deliver fresh fruit to the European market at a time of year when avocados are in short supply because of the different harvest seasons in South Africa, South America and Europe.
Currently 130 hectares are planted with avocado trees and the first crop was harvested in 2010. Africado will engage a large number of independent farmers as vendors of avocados. When it reaches full capacity, the company plans to employ around 300 people and provide a market for the production of several thousand independent farmers.
The farm will generate important export revenues to Tanzania. Avocados will also be introduced as a new agricultural product that provides sales revenue in an area that has been dominated by coffee-growing. In view of the global fluctuations in coffee prices, a broader-based industrial structure will reduce the vulnerability of the farmers. The investment in Africado is consistent with Tanzania’s own poverty reduction strategy.