In 2001, the South African deciduous fruit industry launched goals in the transformation sphere to address economic and socio-economic development in the fruit industry to integrate new entrants into mainstream economics as soon as possible and to become part of the larger industry.
Transformation in the context of a long-term capital and management-intensive industry is not an event, but a process that requires partnerships with role players pursuing the same goals.
These partnerships create a platform within which economic development is prioritised and certain initiatives can be accelerated to make a meaningful impact. In this regard, the industry has already partnered with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDA) in 2009 in terms of financing, supporting producers and launching the Boompie Project (2009 to 2016).
With the support and cooperation of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, the foundation for the following successes is laid:
- 449 hectares were planted of which 367 hectares were established in the Western Cape.
- 69 farm entities supported nationally and 50 farms in the Western Cape
- A total of 669 jobs were created.
The total investment from the private sector, industry and WCDA amounts to R90m with an estimated value of R4.3 billion unlocked over the lifetime of the orchards.
In 2011 the partnership and cooperation with the WCDA is formalised with a commodity approach. The relationship with the WCDA was further cemented with the initiation of the commercialisation programme (widely known as JF1) – between the industry, WCDA as well as the Jobs Fund which aimed to provide a more comprehensive support programme to 100% black-owned fruit enterprises.
The commercialisation programme not only focused on the establishment of new orchards but took a holistic approach to commercialising the entities by addressing critical infrastructure (dams), and other key shortcomings such as market requirements, cold storage, packaging, and marketing as well as technical and managerial support.
The four-year project was implemented in 2016.
- 310 hectares planted.
- 21 farm entities are supported (18 entities in the Western Cape) of which 10 are fully commercial.
- 1667 new jobs are created.
- 542 beneficiaries receive training.
- R136.9m is invested with an estimated R3 billion in revenue over the lifetime of the orchards.
These are just a few examples of the value of the industry’s partnership with the WCDA. Furthermore, the industry also acts as implementing agent as part of the commodity approach to promote black economic empowerment through the value chain.
Since 2011, the industry, in collaboration with the WCDA, has already invested R325.m in economic development. 60% of the funds go to outright black empowerment, while 40% goes to shared equity. Successes include poverty alleviation through job creation that contributes to food security, increased production and exports and long-term sustainable economic development.
The unique partnership between Hortgro and the WCDA becomes a recipe for success for similar initiatives in other provinces and a model whereby other industries’ funds are administered. Without this partnership, the industry would not have been able to achieve the following transformation milestones:
- R444.5m operating funds go into transformation.
- 3125 new jobs are being created.
- 844 new hectares are planted.
- 90% success achieved with projects.
- R8.015 billion is the value of the new orchard plantings.
- 85% of industrial transformation funds are allocated to economic development.
With this award, Hortgro would like to acknowledge the Western Cape Department of Agriculture for their dedication and support in making a transformation in the deciduous fruit industry a reality. The Department has been a reliable and stable partner through thick and thin. Hortgro looks forward to taking hands in the future and making Agricultural transformation a reality for emerging producers in the deciduous fruit industry.
Caption: The Award was presented by Hortgro Director, Angelo Petersen (on the right), to the HOD of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Dr Mogale Sebopetsa.