New Zealand’s largest farmer, Landcorp, is eyeing up moving into hemp, kiwifruit and avocados, local media Stuff reported.
The state-owned enterprise has announced it will pay back NZ$5 million to the taxpayer following its latest annual results. This is the first dividend since the 2014 financial year when it returned NZ$7 million to the government.
Its after-tax profit for the year has fallen by 34% to NZ$34.2 million because of lower returns from forestry and livestock, and a higher tax bill.
Over the past five years Landcorp has diversified into sheep and deer milk, and halted a forestry to dairy farm conversion in a move to become more environmentally sustainable.
“It’s an exciting time to be in agriculture. There are pressures but there’s also a lot of diversification happening across the sector which we want to be part of,” chief executive Steven Carden was quoted as saying.
Over the last four years Landcorp had been reducing its debt levels which were now at NZ$209m, down by about NZ$25m.
“Given the strong operating performance of the business, the board is happy to pay a dividend back to the Government and get that dividend programme back again.”