Investment in climate adaptation creates jobs in South African agriculture

October 19, 2023

Climate change affects the production of popular citrus fruits. Through an investment in a South African company, Norfund will contribute to climate adaptation in the form of nets that protect crops from hail and create new jobs.

“The world must drastically increase financing for climate adaptation to preserve jobs and food production, and investments like this can make a crucial contribution,” says Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim. 

Norfund is now investing $10 million USD in The ANB Group, a South African fruit company that produces and distributes citrus and tropical fruits to markets in Europe, Asia, and North America. In Norway, you will be able to find ANB’s “Clemengold” mandarins on store shelves. 

Nets to protect against hail 

As a result of global warming, extreme weather is taking on new forms, and in recent years, hailstorms have posed an increasing threat to South African agriculture. Higher temperatures combined with increased moisture in the atmosphere create ideal conditions for the formation of large hail, which can cause damage to property, vehicles, and people. In South Africa, significant harvests have been completely destroyed by unpredictable hailstorms. 

ANB is investing in nets that effectively protect crops from extreme weather such as hail, heat, wind, and strong sunlight. 

“Norfund’s investment will, among other things, finance climate adaptation in the form of netting that reduces waste and water consumption while increasing volumes and quality,” says Simen Berger Øby, Investment Director in Norfund. 

Minister Anne Beathe Tvinnereim

“This investment is an example of how climate adaptation often involves tangible solutions that can be quite simple but require significant investments. It is crucial that we use public funds to leverage private capital for such investments, as Norfund does,” says Tvinnereim. 

Investing in solar energy and energy efficiency 

South Africa’s energy mix is dominated by coal power and faces significant challenges with power outages. 

“While our various businesses have already heavily invested in the installation of solar panels, we still plan to improve our electricity efficiency and lessen our carbon footprint with more solar installations at our farms and packhouses,” says AJ Esser, co-CEO of the ANB group. 

New jobs in a country of high unemployment 

Approximately half of South Africa’s 60 million inhabitants live in poverty, and unemployment has hovered between 25 and 30 percent for several years. Low growth combined with high inflation hinders investment and companies’ ability to hire more people. 

Simen Berger Øby

Norfund’s purpose is to create jobs and improve lives through investments in sustainable businesses. ANB already has 2,200 permanent employees and at the height of the citrus season, this figure rises to above 6 000. The aim is to increase the quality of these jobs and create more in the years to come. 

“The collaboration between Norfund and The ANB Group contributes to increasing resilience in South African agriculture and creating new jobs that help combat poverty in rural South Africa,” says Øby.