The home of the South African deciduous fruit grower.
Our roots date back to the Spring of 1652 when the Dutch East India Company founded the Cape of Good Hope as a refreshment outpost for its passing ships. Deciduous fruit trees were planted to supply ships with fresh fruit. On April 17, 1662, the first two ripe apples were picked at the Cape, Wittewijn Appels. Stone fruit and pears followed. Gradually small farmers started experimenting with other top fruit crops and sold their produce to passing ships.
The South African fruit export industry was “founded” by Percy Molteno in 1892 when he successfully exported a small consignment of peaches to the United Kingdom, which was sold at Covent Garden Market. Hereafter, the fruit export market blossomed and by 1903 more than 22 000 fruit packages were being exported.
After years of exporting individually, the deciduous fruit producers realised they needed a governing body to offer support and the Deciduous Fruit Exchange (1926) was established. This was later adapted to the Deciduous Fruit Board (1939), Universal Fruit Trade Co-operative (1987), Unifruco (1989), Deciduous Fruit Producers’ Trust (1997) and ultimately HORTGRO (2013).
At HORTGRO we focus on production, research and technology, communication, markets, and transformation within the deciduous fruit industry. Download a timeline of our history here:
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