RNS Number : 2955Z
14 March 2012
Agriterra Ltd / Ticker: AGTA / Index: AIM / Sector: Agriculture
14 March 2012
Agriterra Ltd ('Agriterra' or 'the Company')
Tropical Farms Limited Approved Voting Member of the Federation of Cocoa Commerce
Agriterra Ltd, the AIM listed pan African agricultural company, announces that its wholly owned subsidiary, Tropical Farms Ltd ('TFL'), has been approved to become the first Sierra Leonean cocoa company to become a voting member of the Federation of Cocoa Commerce ('FCC'), an international trade organisation that represents all areas of the cocoa supply chain. The appointment is expected to increase TFL's global profile amongst the major cocoa traders and processors, and support expansion plans to become a leading buyer, trader and producer of high quality, sustainable and traceable cocoa by the end of 2012.
TFL is expanding its direct cocoa buying network of over 3,500 farmers, centred on Kenema, in south eastern Sierra Leone and is in talks to purchase a former cocoa/coffee plantation and additional contiguous land in the region. It has secured a site for a new 2,000 sq m processing and management facility and is in negotiations to secure a 15-acre site in Sierra Leone's New Airport Development Zone in Freetown for a collateral management facility. TFL also has plans to expand its buying and trading commodity focus to include coffee and palm oil, which will further complement existing operations.
Andrew Groves, Agriterra CEO said, "The FCC works with the major international cocoa traders and processors. I believe our voting presence within this trade organisation highlights the potential of TFL, and will help position the company within the global market, helping to advance expansion plans to become a leading player in sustainable and traceable cocoa in Sierra Leone. In addition to the opportunities created by the FCC, strong growth plans and a healthy balance sheet create a bullish outlook for 2012, and I remain highly confident about the future of TFL. TFL's activities complement Agriterra's established beef and maize buying and processing operations in Mozambique and further enforce the Company's objective of building a pan-African agricultural company."
For more information on the FCC, please visit www.cocoafederation.com
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For further information please visit www.agriterra-ltd.com or contact:
Andrew Groves Agriterra Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 20 7408
Jonathan Wright Seymour Pierce Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 20 7107
David Foreman Seymour Pierce Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 20 7107
Andy Cuthill MC Peat & Co LLP Tel: +44 (0) 20 7104
Hugo de Salis St Brides Media & Finance Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236
Susie Geliher St Brides Media & Finance Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236
Agriterra Ltd is an AIM listed agricultural company with four divisions: beef, maize, cocoa and palm oil. Its cattle ranching business, Mozbife, currently has a 2,350 strong herd, a land holding of over 16,000 hectares, a feedlot and a 4,000 head per month abattoir which is under construction. In addition to selling meat from its own herds, throughput for the feedlot and abattoir will be supplemented using cattle bought in from local communities.
The Company's maize buying and milling operations, DECA and Compagri, are located in Chimoio and Tete in central and north-western Mozambique respectively. These collect maize from circa 350,000 farmers using the Company's own vehicle fleet, process it into mealie meal, the African staple, and then sell it back to the local market, into supermarkets and to the World Food Programme. Combined sales for the year ended 31 May totalled 28,822 tonnes maize meal generating revenue of US$13.6 million.
Agriterra's cocoa business is based in Sierra Leone, through its 100% subsidiary TFL, which is currently a buying and trading operation, but provides an ideal conduit to branch out into cocoa production in West Africa. Its strategy is to establish itself as a secure, sustainable and traceable source of supply to meet the requirements of the major cocoa consumers who are placing increased emphasis in this area.
The Company has expanded its portfolio of agricultural products through the addition of palm oil, and holds a lease over approximately 45,000 hectares of brownfield agricultural land in an area suitable for palm oil production in the Pujehun District in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone. This area of Sierra Leone, which is close to the Liberian border, receives one the highest levels of rainfall in Sierra Leone, which in itself, receives some of the highest rainfall globally. In addition, the lease area is located on the equatorial belt, which is the most favourable geographical location for palm oil production.
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