Africa is home to some 60% of the world’s unutilised agricultural land and water resource and offers numerous prime locations for agricultural development. The group plans to capitalise on this opportunity, with a portfolio of quality farms producing a variety of commodity and high value crops in the region. It has a proven track record of operational excellence and executing projects in often remote locations across Africa, and has established a strong reputation as a reliable, ethical and long-term partner committed to community development.

Over the past decade the group has steadily increased its portfolio of farms and production capacity by improving and expanding existing operations, acquiring new farms and developing new projects. At present about half of the group’s assets by value are in a development phase, either not contributing to profit at all, or producing well below the mature or optimum production capacity. These projects include the macadamia, deciduous and Mozambique banana farming operations.

The Renishaw property development on the South Coast of KZN is also expected to be a major future contributor over many years. In total 1300 ha of agricultural land has been rezoned for development, yielding 260 ha of developable land, the balance comprising wetlands, coastal forest or land too steep for development.

In the medium term the contribution from these assets will increase rapidly, driving the growth of the group. At the same time further opportunities for growth will be evaluated, focussing on high value niches exhibiting rapid growth in demand, including selected further fruit and nut products.

In South Africa itself, the group is strongly aligned to the national transformation agenda. Already more than half (by value) of the assets under management in SA are owned by communities. The success of these partnerships is testimony to our commitment and we plan to expand our reach in this arena. The establishment of a separate SA company meeting our empowerment objectives is a step forward on this journey.

The group makes a strong social impact in the areas in which it operates. In addition to providing 2 600 job opportunities, in the past financial year the community partnerships in which the group participated made a major contribution via dividends and lease fees to our community partners, as well as assisting with skills development and general welfare in these communities.

Despite the many political uncertainties, challenges posed by climate change and economic volatility in the region, we believe that the Crookes Brothers group has the resources and capability to meet investor growth expectations over the long-term. Since 2002 the share price has achieved a 17% annual average growth rate and the group has not missed a single dividend – we aim to build on this trend.