Impact investing platform offers returns that are simply nuts

Impact investing platform offers returns that are simply nuts
Pistachio orchard. (Photo: Supplied)

Pistachio trees, with cracking returns, sold out quickly. The good news is that they’re planting more.

According to the Global Impact Investing Network report for 2022, the world’s impact investing market has passed the $1-trillion mark. In South Africa, impact investing has long been available to institutional investors and is now opening up as an option for retail investors.

Fedgroup Asset Management’s impact investing arm offers individual investors the opportunity to invest in impact farming. From macadamias and pistachios to lettuce stacks, beehives and solar panels, there are options to suit every wallet with different investment terms and attractive returns.

Impact investing is direct investment in a physical asset that produces income, as opposed to investment in companies or bonds.

Warren Winchester, general manager of ventures at Fedgroup, says its impact investing platform was launched four years ago and has enjoyed tremendous growth, with more than 17,000 investors to date. 

One of the more recent offerings – pistachio trees – came online towards the end of last year and is already sold out. The fourth largest globally traded nut, pistachios thrive in arid conditions with hot, dry summers. Prieska in the Northern Cape is a perfect location.

Winchester says 98% of the world’s pistachios are produced in Iraq, Iran, Syria and California. According to the Pistachio Nut Company, global demand has grown 12.5% year on year for the past five years.

“Funnily enough, the Department of Trade and Industry did attempt to support pistachio farmers in Northern Cape several years ago,” says Winchester. However, the project went horribly wrong. 

“They got the male-female ratio of trees wrong and used the wrong varieties of pistachios, so it was not commercially viable for farmers. We managed to find one of the farmers who went on to put in the research himself, got the ratios right and imported the right varieties.”

impact investing

It is easy to see why the pistachio tree investment offering sold out so quickly. 

A minimum investment of R2,500 means a low entry point, with returns of 14% to 16% over an investment term of 15 years. Winchester says there are plans to cultivate another 100ha of pistachio trees in the next few months and new investors will be allowed in.

The investment platform is a user-friendly Fedgroup app where you simply need to upload your photo, a copy of your identity document and proof of your address to start transacting. There is a wallet built into the app and returns are paid directly into the wallet, from where the investor can choose to transfer funds to a bank account or reinvest the money.

While macadamias and pistachios offer annual returns, other products such as lettuce stacks and solar panels generate monthly returns. One of the great attractions of investing via this platform is the zero-charges, zero-fees structure, which means 100% of your money goes towards your investment. 

Fedgroup makes its money via direct arrangements with the farmers who are part of the programme.

The Fedgroup app currently offers eight opportunities – solar panels, lettuce stacks, moringa trees, pistachio trees, macadamia trees, nursery saplings, blueberry bushes and beehives.

Hemp plants are a new offering that will be available at a minimum investment of R1,000 with a three-year investment term, offering returns of 12% a year. DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.


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