A True Orchardist
Sivuyile Panya from Kromfontein in the Koue Bokkeveld received the merit award for General Agricultural Worker of the Year for his exceptional work ethic and orchard skills. The 31-year old Panya, originally from the Eastern Cape, started as a general agricultural worker on Kromfontein in 2007. Over the years his incredible work ethic and motivation have impressed his manager, and today Panya is a team leader and section foreman. According to Johan van Schalkwyk, Kromfontein’s farm manager, Panya is an all-round, outstanding orchardist. “He was also Kromfontein’s Fruit Picker of the Year with a phenomenal 9 296 picking bags to his credit, despite the drought.” Panya also out-performed his co-workers when it came to pruning. He pruned on average between 55 and 60 trees a day. “That is an incredible achievement when the environmental terrain in which he works is taken into account. Panya stands out in everything that he does and does everything with a smile,” says Van Schalkwyk.
Asked what his recipe for success is, Panya humbly says, “When I am in the orchard I focus. When I pick fruit, I only focus on the fruit. When I prune, I only focus on the branches.” He believes in discipline and teamwork. “When you work in the orchard you do your own job, but you also have to work as a team.” He doesn’t have a preference for a specific fruit type. “It doesn’t matter whether it is a peach tree or an apple tree, as long as it is a fruit tree!”