think we will invest a lot in new land except if an exciting opportunity comes our way we will always explore,” says Cillié. “We want to make maximum use of what we have and grow our production from 1200 to 1500 hectares of irrigated land. We also want to maximise income through value adding activities before we look at further punnets of production.” MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE Across all operations, the Laastedrif Farming group employs around 800 people and Cillié is unequivocal in his view that people are the most important aspect of the business. The talents of people are key to the success of Laastedrif. This is why Cillié tries to ensure all employees are well catered for, and the family values on which the company is based are instilled across the board. “We try and give our employees families work. We are on a farm and the
surroundings are rural so it’s not easy to find work. If our employees have children, we try to help with schooling and university and then try to give them an opportunity on the farm if possible. We also have a BEE farm where employees hold a 60% share and all employees have access to education, medical care, pensions and more. We try and give the first opportunities for employment to the families of existing employees as they grow up around the business and they understand the principles. “Working with people is always a challenge, everyone thinks differently. We try and instil family values throughout the operation and I think we have been mostly successful doing this. “It’s not easy; as we’ve grown, there’s been a lot more challenges. We’re not just farmers anymore; we’re doctors, teachers, uncles, grandfathers, HR, finance, marketing; everyone has to be
multi-skilled,” explains the MD. Thanks to its quality people and quality products, Laastedrif is one of the fortunate few South African farming operations to remain upbeat and positive about the future. Following the droughts of 2015 and the international credit agencies recent downgrade of the country’s status to Junk, many are facing an uncertain and unpredictable future. Laastedrif has positioned itself on an extremely robust base and will continue to strive for growth. “Growing our value-add offering, improving irrigation and trying to get improved yields per hectare is our immediate focus,” Cillié concludes.
LAASTEDRIF FARMING +27 (23) 316 2366 www.laastedrif.co.za
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