New pack house boosts farmers export business
NEW FARMING infrastructure to grow the farming sector of the Eastern Cape and entice young people into agriculture.
Three commercial citrus farmers in Ngqushwa in the Eastern Cape no longer have to worry about their harvest being spoilt thanks to the provincial government that handed over a R55-million packhouse.
The new pack house has updated storage features which will help improve the quality and lifespan of the citrus fruit waiting to be exported.
The farmers produce over 300 hectares of citrus.
One of the farmers is Hambile Nyamezele, who grows 49 hectares of Valencia oranges, Satsuma, Clementine and mandarin, which are exported to Europe, the Middle East, Canada and Russia. He said the new pack house would boost profitability.
In the old facility built in 1927, they could not pack all their fruit, especially soft citrus for a long time, said Nyamezele
He added that this led to farmers using excessive amounts of money on frequent trips to their suppliers to ensure that the produce were delivered to local and export markets without getting spoiled.
“We had to travel about 80 kilometres on a gravel road to Fort Beaufort , which is a very expensive trip. If you expect 90 percent export, in reality it would only be 60 percent because some of your produce would spoil and be lost,” said Nyamezele.
He added that farmers had to take turns during harvest time which was also bad for business.
“Now we can all harvest at the same time and also store our produce at the same time without worrying that it will be spoiled. We have a cooling system which keeps the fruit fresh for a longer period,” said Nyamezele.
Provincial Agriculture MEC Xolile Nqatha said the investment made by his department was in line with growing the number of farmers in the region along with enticing young people to join the agricultural sector.
“If the majority of SoutH AFrICAns stArtED GrowInG their own vEGEtABlEs, immense strIDEs woulD BE mADE In a very short tImE to ADDrEss FooD sECurIty AnD povErty AllEvIAtIon.”
Farmers in the Eastern Cape will grow their businesses thanks to a new pack house donated by government.