In the horticultural sector, there’s already a comprehensive network of organisations doing sterling work for producers. We’re small fry when compared to juggernauts like the US, China and others, yet we match the best when it comes to quality horticultural products supplied by sophisticated producers and exporters. We’re also among the leaders in exports of certain products in other sectors and many of our senior managers play significant roles within organisations on the international stage.
Consider producer organisations such as Hortgro (deciduous fruit), the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa, the Subtropical Fruit Growers and Potatoes SA to name only a few. Within their sectors they not only take the lead on behalf of their members – the producers – they also provide value-for-money by supporting a wide range of services for those members.
To list everything here would be impossible, but their contribution to agriculture and the economy is surely immeasurable.
Add to this the fact that they’re all voluntary organisations which have most, but not all, the producers in their respective sectors as members. This implies tight budgets and a never-ending battle for financial resources. Yes, there are levies in some cases, and grants and other sources of funding, but that doesn’t make it easy. It’s always an uphill struggle to secure enough income to not only provide for the existing services but to add more when required.
My own experience with these organisations, going back to my farming days, is that they’re always helpful and willing to supply information wherever possible. Through focused and relevant services, producer organisations ensure that their members have access to knowledge and information essential to their farming operations. We might be ‘lightweight’, but we certainly punch way above our weight in the international ring!
Contact Mike Cordes at [email protected]. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.