Mango farm sales surge in the Top End

Mango farm sales surge in the Top End

21 April 2017

Mango farms have become one of the country’s hottest rural assets, reports the Australian Financial Review this week.

According to valuers Herron Todd White, the past 12 months have seen a surge in the sale of mango plantations throughout the Northern Territory, with more sales over this period than the total over the past five years.

“Five commercial-scale mango farms sold to locals or Australian-based companies with long-term experience in the NT and all control the fruit from tree to market place.

“Value rates are steady, generally between $20,000 to $30,000 per planted hectare (for mature, old variety trees such as Kensington Prides) with a premium for Calypso [mangoes] at around $40,000-plus per planted hectare,” said HTW.

The most prominent recent deal was the sale of the Oolloo Farms aggregation for $18 million to a local investor on a net return of just over 8 percent.

The portfolio comprised four farms in Darwin, Katherine and Mataranka covering 1,311 hectares with more than 500 hectares planted to the Calypso mango variety. It sold with a long leaseback to fruit and vegetable group OneHarvest, owned and run by the Robson family.

The orchards, which allow for a further 300 hectares of mango orchard development, produce 40 per cent of the country’s calypso variety. In 2015, marketing rights for the Calypso mango variety were sold to Perfection Fresh, a company backed by the wealthy Smorgon family.

According to a 2016 Australian government report, the Australian mango industry produces around 50,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes each season, of which up to 10 percent is exported to markets in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

“The domestic market is very profitable so growers tend to be spot sellers in overseas markets, where price drives a transactional approach to exports,” the report said.

Mangoes are predominantly grown in the Northern Territory and Queensland, which combined, produce around 95 percent of the total national crop, according to the Australian Mango Industry Association.

The gross value of mango production at farm gate is about $140 million per annum, with the harvest window running from September to January.