Fast-growing US citrus company Limoneira and land development and water specialist Cadiz have expanded their existing agricultural agreement to include an additional 200 acres (80ha) of lemon plantations.
In a media release, the companies announced that Limoneira had acquired 200 acres (80ha) of lemons and associated irrigation lines from Cadiz and one if its leasing tenants for around US$1.2m.
Limoneira said it had amended its lease agreement with Cadiz, which commenced in July 2013 to include the additional 200 acres.
Under the agreement, Limoneria has the right to plant up to 1,480 acres (600ha) of lemons over the next three years at the Cadiz Ranch operation in Cadiz Valley. The lemon trees from the latest purchase are expected to become “productive” in the 2017 financial year.
CEO and president of Limoneira Harold Edwards said the acquisition complemented the group’s recent investments in Chile and Arizona. “It’s in line with our long-term growth strategy to add productive agricultural properties to our portfolio and leverage our core competencies,” he commented.
In a recent interview with Asiafruit (February 2015 edition), Edwards said Limoneira was “actively seeking to acquire more full-bearing lemon acreage” in 2015 as the company looks to become more vertically integrated and capitalise on growing demand from both domestic and export markets.
Limoneira expects to market 3.4m cartons of lemons this year, with 60 per cent of that fruit grown in-house, according to Edwards. But the company has ambitious expansion plans, with a target to ramp up its volumes to 10m cartons of lemons and 10m cartons of oranges over the next seven years. Edwards told Asiafruit that “opportunistic acquisitions” – both within the US and in key Southern Hemisphere supplying nations – would be key to reaching those goals.