More than half-a-million Rand donated to Karoo grower drought relief
The more than 15% average drop in production, and linked income, from the drought the Western Cape figures don’t accurately demonstrate the severe impact on some growers. Growers between Worcester and Villiersdorp, for example, were 46% down year-on-year.
Despite the reduced volume, Two-a-Day, the wholly grower owned apple and pear packing and storage business in Grabouw, managed to achieve good results for their growers thanks to further improving efficiencies by reducing costs in the value chain.
According to Two-a-Day Group Managing Director, Mr Attie van Zyl, more than 80% of the growers voted to contribute a per-carton amount towards the most needy of growers in the Karoo area of the Greater Western Cape, where the drought’s impact was felt most severely. Those who didn’t contribute were already involved in relief in other ways.
“Growers contributed R583 460 to Agri Western Cape who will be in the best position to manage the payout.” Van Zyl says adding: “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 payouts where they will be the most needed.”
Mr Jannie Strydom, CEO of Agri Western Cape said Agri Western Cape has been assisting producers in the drought stricken areas for the past four years by means of their drought relief fund that is audited by external auditors “It is really heart-warming when competitors in business put aside their individual businesses out of concern for the greater good and on-going support for those most negatively impacted. We have seen so much goodwill towards the agriculture sector during the drought, and we are thankful for it,” he said.
Two-a-Day chairman Derek Corder is also involved with The Elgin Foundation which aims to support disadvantaged communities. “South Africa’s fruit industry is all about people – we have chosen not to mechanise and rather to keep jobs for people who, in all likelihood, would be without work if it weren’t for the fruit industry. This donation to support growers is so that they, in turn, can support their staff.”
Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing is responsible for the successful sale of the apples and pears from Two-a-Day as well as from Ceres Fruit Growers. Managing Director Roelf Pienaar comments that it wonderful that even in a belt-tightening business phase people are always willing to be generous and to help others. “The kind of support the fruit industry provides is truly inspirational,” he says.