Alterra’s Trevor Stoney - Non-Executive Chairman (L) and Brett Heather - Chief Operations and Technical Officer (R) at a French Group avocado property in Pemberton in WA.

Alterra to become Avocado expert

ASX-listed agricultural asset development management firm, Alterra, has entered into some potentially lucrative agreements that secure exclusive rights to access quantitative avocado data from Western Australian producer, French’s Group.

Alterra will now have access to genetic information from avocados that have been selectively produced over the past 33 years by the French family who established the first commercial-scale avocado crop in WA. French’s Pemberton farms contain over 32,000 trees that produce more than 5.8 million of the nutrient-packed, high-value fruit per year.

French’s avocados appear to have superior genes and Alterra will look to the science behind the fruit to optimise soil, water and nutrient use and apply this knowledge to generate new crops in under-utilised agricultural lands.

Alterra will also gain access to all of French’s historical and future orchard production data to analyse for future production and cost estimates.

The agreement will also provide a platform for the development of “natural capital” such as soil and carbon sequestration, or the removal and trapping of carbon dioxide from the air.

Alterra Managing Director Oliver Barnes said:Alterra’s approach is to partner with top tier producers, access unrealised intellectual property and through a proprietary development framework, work with landowners to transition underdeveloped land and water assets.”

“The agreements are an example of Alterra’s commitment to providing capital markets access to the next generation of best in class assets.”

The French family has a significant interest in downstream avocado activities including packaging, marketing and export. It holds a significant shareholding in Advance Packing and Marketing Services, which packs avocados for over 40 growers in WA with a modern facility capable of packing 6 million trays of avocados per season.

Alterra will issue French’s Group with 1 million Alterra shares for nil consideration to meet the agreement terms.

The company has also built up its capabilities this year, with the appointment of veteran agribusiness executive, Brett Heather, as its chief operating and technical officer. It also reached an exclusive technical partnership agreement with horticultural expert Tyson Bennett, who specialises in the “outperformance” of high-value tree crops.

Alterra’s business invests in assets where there is a tangible uplift in social, environmental and economic outcomes. To that end, the agreements with the French family appear to tick all the required boxes with the ultimate aim to provide income from the development of underutilised land.

Alterra is looking to shake up the agriculture sector with its new business model that effectively will see it co-invest alongside other investors in specific agricultural plays whilst receiving a fee to manage each project.

With a wealth of information now at its fingertips on avocado’s, it looks like this highly sought after product will be the first cab off the rank.


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