Land Degradation Neutrality acquires minority stake in Morocco’s Atlas Fruits Company

MOROCCO – Atlas Fruits Company, the Moroccan company specializing in citrus cultivation, has sold a minority stake to the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) investment fund managed by Mirova, the affiliate of Natixis investment managers, dedicated to sustainable investment.

The deal follows the closing for the fund’s US$200 million, dedicated to sustainable land use in 2021.

Mirova has been developing a strategy dedicated to sustainable land use for the past six years, emphasising the value creation potential and positive environmental and social impact of agricultural and forestry value chains.

The investment is set to support Atlas Fruits Company implement sustainable practices in citrus production, with a particular focus on water resource management through improved irrigation systems, set up agroforestry systems, and develop precision farming in existing orchards.

This decision also marks the company’s desire to move towards organic fruit production by converting existing orchards and creating new orchards across the Kingdom.

By joining the company, LDN fund will enable Atlas Fruits Company to accelerate its development by increasing its orchard cultivation area from 250 hectares to 1,000 hectares by 2028.

This operation will create 1,000 jobs on farms and 300 additional jobs by integrating the activity of the packaging station, highlighted Atlas Fruit Company.

“We are enthusiastic to have made this operation a reality by joining forces with a Moroccan company that makes sustainable agriculture its priority,” said the LDN fund, Johann Fourgeaud.

“The acquisition of a minority stake by the LDN fund, managed by Mirova, in the Atlas Fruits Company, will make it possible to initiate a project which aims to increase efficiency in the use of water resources, set up agroforestry systems and develop precision agriculture in existing orchards.”

The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund2 has invested nearly 60% of its assets and is targeting the completion of its investments by the end of 2022.

During the negotiations, Atlas fruits company was advised by the investment bank West capital partners and the law firm ADNA, while Mirova was accompanied by the firm UGGC Africa for this first operation in Morocco.

The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund2 has invested nearly 60% of its assets and is targeting the completion of its investments by the end of 2022, with projects in Africa, Latin America, and Asia currently under review.

Some of the approved projects include Aloe Agroflorestal, the Brazilian partnership between Mirova and the French group SLB to develop land restoration projects, with a focus on the use of biochar.

This first investment in Brazil aims to restore up to 2,000 hectares of degraded land through sustainable forestry practices.

In Philippines the fund is supporting, Kennemer Food in the implementation of sustainable agroforestry practices in the cocoa and fruit sectors, in partnership with more than 19,000 independent producers.

This are among the nine projects and programs spread across 11 countries (Bhutan, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, and Sierra Leone) in diversified value chains i.e., wood, coffee, cocoa, fruits, and nuts, etc. under the fund’s portfolio.

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