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Ten noticeable years of transformation

The Pome and Stone Fruit Industry have put their money where their mouths are since 2010 regarding transformation and sustainable development. Over the last 10 years, transformation initiatives were refocused on training, worker welfare, and skills development to a wide range of economic development initiatives and support programmes. True transformation is so much more than addressing primary production but is focused on the entire value chain.

Amongst others, the Industry assists with business development support, technical assistance and mentorship, market access/readiness (SCLP programme), market and trade exposure (including overseas study tours), monitoring and evaluation, project implementation (CASP, DFDC Commercialisation), capacity building (symposiums, workshops, field days, study groups), policy-related inputs and accessing of additional funding.

More than 90% of industry transformation funds are being channelled toward economic development. This includes a substantial bursary programme to the value of R26,5 million having been invested in 138 undergraduates, 240 postgraduates and 40 post-doctorates.

From small beginnings, businesses with black ownership in four provinces totalled 102 in 2019. Of these 37 are 100% black-owned and the remaining 65 entities have equity partners with varying percentages. Regarding the rest of the value chain, there are five packhouses, one cold-storage unit, two nurseries and three marketing divisions which are 100% BEE and one packhouse and one cold-storage unit in equity partnerships.

To date, 762 hectares (R224,2 million) of new orchards have been established. The value over their productive lifespan tops R7,3 billion. In the process, 2 310 new jobs were created. With the latest initiative of Hortfin, an additional 780 hectares (R7,5+ billion) linked to 1 700 new jobs will also be established.

In 2014 the Fruit Workers’ Development Trust was established to address the social conditions of agri-workers and assist with life skills training. Permanent workers registered to receive a dividend from the funding invested on their behalf. A total dividend of R4,9 million has to date been paid to 1 500 workers.

Then there was the Boompie Project. In 2009 450 hectares on 69 farming units with a projected income of R4,3 billion over the lifespan of the orchards were acquired. In the process, 669 jobs were created. The success rate of the plantings to date is at 90%. The total investment made into this project was R90 million funded via industry (Hortgro), WCDOA and the respective farming entities. Of the total plantings, 39% (176 ha) were made on 100% black-owned farms and the balance on farms with black equity ownership.

As an extension of the Boompie Project, the year 2016 also saw the commencement of the DFDC Commercialisation Programme. The focus here is to commercialise only 100% black-owned entities. Total funds invested to date are R134,2 million with 312 new hectares planted and 1 641 new jobs created.

In line with the DFDC expansion strategy to non-traditional areas, a summit launch was held in Mpumalanga, October 2018. It attracted the government, private sector, financial institutions and industry players with a key focus of deciduous fruit expansion in Mpumalanga. Subsequently, an MoU was signed between the DFDC and the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture.

The DFDC leveraged funding from Coca-Cola Minthiro Foundation to the tune of R37 million, for investment in Mpumalanga to increase the number of hectares owned by black producers.

At present, on a primary level, the BEE plantings of pome and stone fruit contribute to 8% of the total area planted to pome and stone fruit. That was not nearly the case 10 years ago. Sustainable transformation takes time. Watch this space 10 years from now.

There is a lot of great things happening in this industry.

Download a great transformation infographic here: transformation-2020

And find all your Transformation Times Newsletters here:

Download a comprehensive industry transformation guide here:10-years-of-transformation-initiatives-final

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