07/04/2020 - 16:02

Alterra, Casotti Group partner on 300ha orchard

07/04/2020 - 16:02

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ASX-listed agribusiness Alterra will develop a 300-hectare avocado orchard in Pemberton, which is set to become one of the largest avocado projects in the country.

Alterra, Casotti Group partner on 300ha orchard
Alterra's Oliver Barnes (left) and Andrew McBain are excited around the potential for the Pemberton orchard.

ASX-listed agribusiness Alterra will develop a 300-hectare avocado orchard in Pemberton, which is set to become one of the largest avocado projects in the country.

Alterra said it has established a special purpose vehicle to develop the orchard, which will be leased under a 50-year agreement with a company related to one of Western Australia’s biggest privately-owned fruit growers and wholesalers, the Casotti Group, whose assets include Karragullen Cool Storage.

Known as the Carpenters Project, the orchard has the potential to produce between 20 to 30 tonnes of avocados per hectare each year.

Alterra managing director Oliver Barnes said the orchard had the potential to represent around 10 per cent of WA’s planted hectares of avocado operations.

“The Carpenters project site is exceptional with the region highly regarded for its favourable climate, reliable rainfall, excellent soil types and quality water, which makes the site a high value asset for Alterra,” Mr Barnes said.

Alterra expects to enter agreement with Casotti to act as the asset manager to oversee the development and its day-to-day management, with the land and water resources to be leased from Casotti subsidiary Red Moon Property Holdings.

Red Moon will be responsible for land clearance and construction of dams, while Casotti Group will provide 500 megalitres of water each year to support avocado plantings while the dams are built.

Alterra said it had secured exclusive rights to local avocado genetics and production data from Pemberton-based grower, packer and exporter French’s Group.

Alterra’s SPV will not progress to finalise a bankable feasibility study with a view to raise development capital in FY2021.

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