Fruit farmers open hearts to Karoo counterparts

Producer-owned apple and pear packing and storage business in the Elgin district, Two-a-Day Group, recently donated more than R500 000 to the Agri Western Cape drought relief fund.

Fruit farmers open hearts to Karoo counterparts
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Producer-owned apple and pear packing and storage business in the Elgin district, Two-a-Day Group, recently donated more than R500 000 to the Agri Western Cape drought relief fund.

According to Attie van Zyl, managing director of the business, more than 80% of the growers voted to contribute a per-carton amount to the neediest growers in the Karoo, where the drought’s impact had been most severely felt.

“We wanted the amount to be ring-fenced for drought relief, and also wanted all donations to be transparent and traceable, which is why we enlisted Agri Western Cape to handle pay-outs where they will be the most needed,” he said.

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Recently appointed CEO of Agri Western Cape, Jannie Strydom, said it was really heart-warming to see so much goodwill being shown to members of the agriculture sector during the drought.

He added that the association had been assisting farmers in drought-stricken areas for the past four years and many farmers were still dependent on donations.

According to a statement by Two-a-Day Group, fruit production and, consequently, farmers’ incomes had declined 15% during the past season.

For some farmers in the area between Worcester and Villiersdorp, production fell 46% year-on-year.

Despite the reduced volumes, Two-a-Day Group managed to achieve good results for its growers’ by further improving efficiencies and thus reducing costs along the value chain.

Roelf Pienaar, managing director of Tru-Cape, which undertakes the marketing of apples and pears on behalf of Two-a-Day Group, said it was “wonderful that even in a belt-tightening business phase people are always willing to be generous and help others”.

Jeandré Du Preez is the newest addition to the Farmer’s Weekly team. Originating from a Riversdal farming family, she has farming in her blood. After school she furthered her studies at Stellenbosch and has been working as an agricultural journalist for the past two years. She says she feels privileged to write about an industry paramount to the survival of all South Africans and is inspired by the innovative solutions with which the farming community bridges the many challenges they face. She enjoys being able to combine work with travel and appreciates the modesty and friendliness with which South Africa’s farmers share their accomplishments. She enjoys being able to combine work with travel and appreciates the modesty and friendliness with which South Africa’s farmers share their accomplishments. If she is not writing or visiting farms, you’ll find her relaxing with a good mystery novel or exploring her other passions: travelling and cooking.