Genagro (formerly Agrifirma Brazil)

In 2008 Ian Watson and Jim Slater co-founded Agrifirma Brazil in the belief that Brazil is ideally positioned to satisfy the world’s demand for high-quality foodstuffs, given its excellent soil, weather, abundant supply of water and highly-trained and able people.

The next step was to recruit a management team.  Anna Rebollini, the excellent Financial Director from Galahad Gold, was the first to join.  Using a headhunter Ian then found Julio Bestani, the former CFO of Adecoagro, the South American agro-industrial group founded in 2002 with the backing of George Soros.  During his five years as CFO the company grew to become one of the largest food and renewable energy companies in the region.

Julio then recommended the purchase of RARO, one of Brazil’s leading agricultural consultancies founded by Rodrigo Rodriguez, who manages the company and also owns his own farms in three states.  Rodrigo joined the team as COO.

Over $189m was raised and the Board of Directors strengthened by the appointment of Lord Wolfson of Sunningdale and Peter Stormonth Darling from London and Roberto Rodrigues the previous Brazilian Minister of Agriculture and Carlos Ortiz of Rabobank.  In additon an Advisory Board was formed including Jim Rogers and Don Coxe.  Lord Rothschild and RIT became the largest shareholders.

The Board decided to concentrate its activities on transformational land in Brazil.  The transformation process involves land clearance, soil preparation, crop planning and expert execution to ensure competitive yields.

The company acquired 42,000 hectares of land in Western Bahia and an option over a further 27,000 hectares.

In August 2011 the company entered into a joint venture with BRZ Investimentos, a leading Brazilian private equity group and changed its name to Genagro Ltd. The joint venture company, Agrifirma Brasil Agropecuaria SA, acquired the company’s portfolio of transformational land. Genagro has a 49.95% stake in Agrifirma Brasil Agropecuaria SA. Following completion of the joint venture, Jim Rogers has joined the board of Genagro Ltd as it pursues further investments in the agricultural sector. You can access Genagro’s website by clicking here. And Agrifirma Brazil website here.

To read an article about Brazilian farmland and Agrifirma, published in the 14th April 2011 issue of the Financial Times click here.