Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber (DFDC)

The Deciduous Fruit Industry (DFI) through its various industry associations and structures developed and adopted a transformation agenda in 2001. At the time, this agenda was agreed by a range of stakeholders and were based on economic development, social/community development, training and the provision of industry capacity/funding to support and execute activities in this sphere.

This agenda has since been re-visited on a number of occasions and forms the backbone of the industries’ current (2011-2015) four year strategic framework required to motivate and utilise statutory levies. Approximately 20% of such levy income collected should and will be used for transformation according to the programmes agreed to by the respective industries. Reporting and accounting to the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) on these activities is required from time to time.

As part of the progression and amendment of focus areas within the DFI, the Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber (DFDC) was created in November 2007. The main focus was on economic development and to ensure representation on industry decision making and service structures. The initial objective was to broaden the emerging support base to include the wider agricultural sector, but to date (May 2012) it is only the SA Apple and Pear Producers’ Association (SAAPPA) and the SA Stone Fruit Producers’ Association (SASPA) that have materially supported the DFDC.

The DFDC functions as a free-standing structure within the HORTGRO umbrella with its own elected Management Committee (ManCo) representing the various clusters (regions). A set of “house-rules” governs its activities. The Chairperson and Committee members are reimbursed for their time and out of pocket expenses according to HORTGRO policy and rates

During 2010 the DFDC reviewed its mandate and focus and indicated its wish to be more involved in the total industry transformation portfolio which includes social development and training for the pome and stone fruit industries within the support and capacity base of HORTGRO. It was agreed with the SAAPPA and SASPA Boards that the DFDC focus will remain on economic development with periodic updates by HORTGRO staff on progress and initiatives relating to the other portfolios.

A 50:50 split of the industry contribution will be maintained between the two main thrusts, i.e. economic development/land reform and social/rural development initiatives. In both cases outside funds (donor and grant funds) are accessed to augment the industry contribution to at least a 75:25 split.

The framework according to which the DFDC leadership contemplate the addressing of this portfolio are based on:

  • Economic development/land reform activities including:
    • Access to external funding;
    • Development of Business Plans to expand the production footprint of emerging producers nationally.
  • Address and refine social/community development and training.
  • Worker housing.
  • A government lobby focus and active engagement with politicians and officials; and
  • A clear communication strategy to inform members of various options and opportunities with direct support.

This framework and action plan focus primarily on the needs and requirements of the pome and stone fruit industries. SAAPPA and SASPA accept the responsibility to support the DFDC initiatives via its budget and by making some of its capacity available to the Chamber. However, a broader so-called “whole-farm” philosophy is followed through which the best product and/or market mix for the specific farm or site will be supported. Should other sub-sectors and/or commodity groups wish to join this initiative, this position will be re-evaluated.

In addition policies and procedures with regard to the expenses of Chamber representatives are included to ensure clear direction in this regard is understood and implemented. This aspect is based on the rates and tariffs paid throughout the HORTGRO structure and are adjusted annually in line with the budget approval process.

Tree project

In 2009 the Pome and Stone Fruit Industry together with the Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber (DFDC) initiated an ambitious planting project of a 1000ha of new fruit orchards over a five to seven year period to assist existing emerging producers to enhance their production footprint nationally. In the Western Cape alone, 600 ha of the 1000ha will be established with the help of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WC DoA). Apart from the contribution of industry funds towards this initiative, HORTGRO also acts as the implementing agent for the WC:DoA on their CASP funding for the fruit industry.

This partnership enables both industry and government to not only supply planting material to emerging growers, but direct the correct resources and support in a timely manner to various projects. This refers to assistance with land preparation and irrigation, production inputs, machinery and equipment, as well as the channelling of industry expertise and mentorship which creates a sound basis to enhance the sustainability of the projects in the long-run.

It is estimated that ±400,000 tons of fruit worth R1.383 billion will be produced over the lifespan of the Western Cape initiative of 600 ha. Approximately 700 permanent new on-farm jobs will be created in this process whilst a similar number of workers will benefit from seasonal work in packing and cold storage facilities. The main markets for these fruit will be exporting, local distribution and processing (canning, drying, concentrates) based on the characteristics of the chosen cultivars.

The tree project basically entails that each BEE production unit is entitled to apply once for 5 hectares of planting material or maximum of 6250 trees per unit (planting density of 4m X 2m) over the life span of the project. The ultimate choice of fruit kind and cultivar remains the project’s decision as long as it’s suitable and adaptable within those specific growing conditions and makes economic sense to do so.

The Economic Development/Land Reform objective of HORTGRO is therefore to:

  1. Expand the tree-planting initiative to all provinces where deciduous fruits are grown based on commercial principles (i.e. no subsistence type projects will be considered);
  2. Extend the scope of the project for as long as assistance and support is required;
  3. Graduate cluster members to full commercial status.

Both 100% black owned entities and equity schemes will be supported in this manner in support of the national target to transform 30% of land to PDI’s.

HORTGRO will pay for all the planting material. This is true for all the provinces which produce deciduous fruit. It is however important to note that currently the additional CASP funding towards the Tree-project are only for the Western Cape farmers. This is because HORTGRO only have a Memorandum of Agreement with the WC DoA by which they pledge an extra R40 000 per ha for soil preparation and irrigation via their CASP program.

HORTGRO is currently working very hard to procure CASP funding in the other provinces for the Tree project.

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