Fleurette commits further funding for Kitoko Food, bringing total investment to $14 million

Israeli businessman Dan Gertler
PRNewsire | 11 February 2014

Fleurette commits further funding for Kitoko Food, bringing total investment to $14 million

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo

The Fleurette Group (Fleurette) today announces a further financial commitment of $1.5 million for 2014 to Kitoko Food, bringing the total investment made by Fleurette in the project to $14 million since it was established in June 2012.

Kitoko Food is an innovative commercial agricultural project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the ultimate objective of equipping its citizens with the tools and skills needed to increase the country's food security and advance the DRC's agricultural and economic development.

The 1,482-acre Kitoko Food Farm is a commercial farming project which also teaches modern, sustainable farming techniques to local Congolese farmers.  The program provides farmers with practical, hands-on training, seeds, farming tools, irrigation systems, fertilizers, and assistance in getting their crops to market. The farm currently employs 107 local Congolese.

Kitoko's aim is to build an agricultural training academy where 120 students a year will be taught the farm's innovative farming and management techniques. After their instruction, it is Kitoko's objective for those students armed with these new skills, to develop new satellite farms modelled on Kitoko that are planned for all of the DRC's 11 provinces, in partnership with provincial governments. These farms are intended to be separate commercial ventures, highlighting that the ultimate objective is to create a long term, sustainable commercial solution to the issue of food security in the DRC. Together, this network of farms will teach future generations of Congolese sustainable techniques that will have a significant impact in helping the country overcome its food deficit and alleviate poverty.

The additional funding commitment will be used to accelerate Kitoko's expansion plans which include the acquisition of additional high end farming equipment, construction of further accommodation and warehousing, combined with bringing a first major harvest to the market.

Dan Gertler, Senior Advisor to the Fleurette Group, said:

"Kitoko is a project I am very proud of and I am delighted to confirm further funding for this next 12 months. Kitoko aims to demonstrate that commercial farming is possible in the DRC which continues to import the vast majority of its food. The techniques we are developing and the training we are providing are the only true attempt to help the DRC find a long term solution to the issue of food security. I strongly believe this is the right thing to do - both to demonstrate that large scale commercial farming can be possible in the DRC, but also to provide a training academy which will result in multiple qualified local farmers available to translate the techniques they are learning to manage their own farms on a stand alone commercial basis."

About Fleurette Group

The Fleurette Group is an entrepreneurial business with significant investment in diverse sectors, including natural resources, agriculture, and technology. Fleurette has a proven track record of co-operation with other businesses, including the state-run mining company Gecamines. Fleurette specializes in successful industrial projects in high-risk environments. It is an active, full-scale planner in each venture, providing everything from managerial expertise to engineering consulting to financial planning, and ensuring the on-time and on-budget completion of each project. In January 2014, Fleurette joined the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative), a global initiative to improve governance in resource-rich countries through the verification and full publication of company payments and government revenues from the oil, gas and mining industries.

A Leading Employer, Investor and Taxpayer

As one of the largest private companies in the country, the Fleurette Group has invested over $1.5 billion dollars in the acquisition and development of mining and other assets in the DRC. Through its ongoing commitment to the country's economy, Fleurette has helped to bring billions in related investments into the DRC. By bringing billions of dollars in private investment to the country, the Fleurette Group's subsidiaries and partnerships support some 20,000 jobs in the DRC, making the company one of the nation's leading employers. Moreover, the Fleurette Group's partnerships and joint ventures are amongst the DRC's leading taxpayers, contributing significant revenues to the States in 2012. These tax payments help to support basic public services, such as schools, roads, and health clinics.

A Long-Term Commitment to the DRC

Dan Gertler, Senior Advisor to the Fleurette Group, began investing in the DRC's diamond sector in 1997, at a time when few other international companies were willing to risk doing business in the war-torn nation. Over the past decade, the Fleurette Group has expanded from iron ore, copper and cobalt to agriculture, oil and gas. A citizen and resident of Israel and the DRC, Gertler is committed to developing the natural resources of the country, while investing in the Congolese people and their communities.

The Largest Charitable Organization in the DRC

Through the Gertler Family Foundation and its own infrastructure and social welfare projects, the Fleurette Group has contributed millions of dollars to the betterment of the DRC and its people. These charitable ventures focus on core areas that include health, education, infrastructure, emergency assistance, food security, and cultural development.

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