A family owned farm
A little story about us
The farms are situated in the lower Orange River Valley, South Africa. These farms have a relative unique potential to develop approximately 2000 hectars for growing export grapes and citrus. The farms are situated roughly on the longitude 20° 46 and latitude 28° 46. The southern boundary of the farm is formed by the Orange River, the largest river in South Africa.
The valley enjoys summer rainfall with a annual average of approximately 120mm rainfall and average annual evaporation amounts to approximately 3300mm. The average day temperature in summer varies up to 42° C, and night temperature in winter sometimes drops just below freezing point. The habitation in the valley is almost desert-like. Water from the river is the life-spring of the valley. Dams, built in the catchment areas, supply enough constant water for all developments along the boundaries all year around.
Apart from the agricultural sector (the food producers of the nation) being the relatively stable investment environment, and concentrating on export markets, an important contribution towards socio-economic development of the area has been made. On the farms 450 people are provided with fixed employment and quality of life, and 1300 on a temporary basis. Capital investment spending in job and wealth creation during the development phase is significant.
Fifty percent production on the farms, are diverted to organically grown produce. Four thousand cubic meters of high quality compost is being made yearly on the farms. Microbial life in the soil is boosted to the utmost, which brings forth a superior quality of fruits. This high quality of produce is being sold under the prescribed criteria of the Super- and Health markets of World wide.
Previous years of isolation and now deregulation, as well as current economic recession, is having an adverse effect on the economical and political situation in the country. Unemployment figures are soaring and as South Africa is still in a transitional political and economical phase, it desperately needs an economical injection, which we can only achieve by means of exporting our produce to the best markets in the world. This will be the only way to address unemployment and poverty.
The growers focus to establish consistent quality and impose strict handling protocols to supply the highest quality product to serve the need of the market.
Traceability is the key issue and the growers established a tracibility system to ensure compliance with international food safety and phyto-sanitary requirements. This includes the development of internationally acceptable Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices, as well as Global Gap-based and Organic principles to ensure food safety control. All produce on the farm is Global Gap and Siza accredited with fifty percent is organic certified.
Strict handling protocol is been taken to make sure that the product is been handled the best way. Produce is only picked before nine o’clock in the morning, and is transported in refrigerated trucks to the packing shed. All produce is been packed in fully equipped packing facilities. Produce is been packed according to the demand of the customer. It is been kept under pre-cooling conditions up to the packing stage. After forced-cooling, produce is packed in integral containers and is kept constantly under the same temperature up till the cold-stores of our buyers. By doing this, we can guarantee the best possible product up to the shelf of the consumer.
ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE AREA
The Orange River Valley with it existing infrastructure, was developed around agriculture, specifically irrigation farming. Due to the high summer temperatures, good soil, abundant sunny skies and plentiful water, the Valley has developed into an area well known for its high quality table grapes, raisins and high yielding wine-grapes as well as the producing of organic grapes and citrus.
Varieties of citrus and deciduous fruit have been grown in the Valley many years ago. These trees were planted on the floodplains of the Orange River and have since disappeared due to flood damaging. The recent development of irrigation areas outside the floodplains since 1989, have again stirred an interest in the growing of these fruits. Irrigation farms on the floodplains of the river make use of flood irrigation practices from higher lying canals. Developments outside these floodplains make use of highly sophisticated irrigation practices. This is to manage water on a sustainable level. These outside developments require large capital outlays and are only encouraged by profits earned by exporting products outside of South Africa.
Due to South Africa’s isolation the previous decades through economic sanctions, as well as the recent political instability, foreign investment in South Africa is only now becoming possible. It is however understandable that fears exit abroad that South Africa, with its extremely high crime, could also become another example of a third-world impoverished African state.
The people in South Africa however are optimistic about the future, and believe that new opportunities would result from the change in attitude from foreign countries. It is also a fact that due to the relatively high level of development in this country, it will become the leader in Africa and prosper from it, which can now be seen under the current pressure of a financial crisis.
SOCIO- ECONOMINC ISSUES
Irrigation farming make great use of seasonal labour. The growers of Orex Export Pty Ltd believe that most labour-related problems can be eliminated by developing a permanent labour-force with a formalised personnel structure. Labourers then have greater security of employment and develop a corporate attitude.
One way to provide work for a permanent labour-force is to diversify the areas of production. The producers have already planned their development around this aspect and have determined which crops should be grown in what proportional developments to provide fulltime employment to labour. These crops must all yield high incomes and must be suitable for growing in the area. The peak use of labour occurs during the harvesting season of every different crop. The distribution of labour is therefore based on the harvesting labour requirement.
The growers have already created the necessary infrastructures for this on the farms. Labourers are provided with proper housing, electricity and clean running water and free health services. Labourers are encouraged to practice their own religion. A church have been build on the farm for this purpose. Children of the labourers are provided with free transport to all local schools. They are equipped with proper clothing and all necessities on a annual basis. A proper equipped nursery school have been build for all pre-schooled children. It is our believe that education is the key to prosperity.
In terms of the standard of labourer houses already built on the farms, one can expects villages developed in which the quality of living far exceed that of townships developed by local authorities.
The provision of good housing and good quality of life is crucial in developing a stable and happy labour-force. The producers have great success in their enterprises with established personnel structures through which responsibilities are delegated and through motivational strategies towards employees.
A little story about us
Similar to other developments in the Orange River Valley, large amounts of capital are required to produce the highest quality products for export. Special care is being taken to farm in harmony with nature and to implemented fair trade back to the farm. It is only the profit gained from the products produced on the farms through which we can achieve these circumstances. Therefore it is highly important that the highest value possible must be achieved for our product. If not so, then the consumers, the world most important customers, may well find that even those producers who have been able to meet the increasingly stringent supply criteria to date, will not be able to continue to do.