Citrinos do Umbelúzi (Citrum) that employs 300 people at Umbelúzi, earned over 18.5 Million Meticais (US$300,000) in 2017 from exports and local sales of citrus fruits and bananas. The citrus estates ran into difficulties and Gapi intervened investing 60 Million Meticais (US$1 000 000) and restructured the company’s administration, finances and management systems. Today, Citrum operates two estates covering 600 hectares in Boane and Namaacha.
Gapi as a development finance institution was asked to intervene as the company is considered of strategic importance in the local economy and a large employer whose jobs were at risk following the transition from state owned plantations to the private sector. In order to re- restructure critical companies, Gapi’s intervention combines financial tools with management assistance. “When we were able to stabilize the company and its business, we created conditions to attract investors with the technical tools and skills to continue our intervention”, said Victor Ribeiro, Gapi’s Manager at Citrum. To restructure and re-launch these important companies in the national economy, Gapi has combined its own resources with those of partner institutions such as Danida, KfW, African Development Bank and others. In this particular case German Financial Cooperation played a crucial role in supporting Gapi intervention.
“After years of restructuring the company, we were able to turn Citrum into an attractive company for investors and in 2016 we signed a contract with a group of national investors who are buying a large part of our share in the company. Now, together we have been able to attract an international investor who wants to complement the efforts of domestic investors” – added Victor Ribeiro.
Gapi’s manager at Citrum, after emphasizing that labor conflicts have been the most complex aspects in relaunching locally important economic activities, he concluded:
“Gapi has a long-term view and we know how to be persistent in finding solutions to these problems. In the case of Citrum we had another success in the rehabilitation of a company in the agricultural sector and with an impact on the maintenance and generating rural jobs. We are now with national and international investors to implement a project of more than 240 Million Meticais (US$4 000 000) to expand the banana and rehabilitation areas of citrus orchards. Despite the water restrictions in the Umbelúzi basin the project is financially interesting and we will create opportunities for other national investors also to benefit from this business opportunity.”