Modernising an age-old industry
age-old industry Editorial â€“ Lauren Grey Production â€“ Chris Bolderstone
Patensie Citrus is a well-established South African company with roots dating back to 1928, and with such a rich, interesting heritage, it may come as a surprise that modernising the citrus industry is at the forefront of the business. Since its humble beginnings in 1928, the vision of the Patensie Citrus Co-operative was finally achieved 15 years later when two leading Cooperatives merged, forming a company which led the way for bigger harvests and larger-scale exportation. Over the years, Patensie Citrus has snowballed its way through the citrus industry; extending premises, increasing the size of pack houses and establishing a ripe workforce. Situated in the Gamtoos Valley, Patensie Citrus benefits from one of its greatest natural assets, the ability to produce the full range of citrus fruits; from large, flavoursome fruits and some of the finest eating oranges
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of the world, to outstanding sweet soft citrus. Patensie currently produces oranges, grape fruit, lemons and a variety of soft citrus from their farms.
MODERNISED PACK HOUSES Citrus farming and agriculture may not strike you as the most modernised of industries, but Patensie is leading the way in technological advancements which are helping to improve the business day by day. Both pack houses are equipped with state of the art computerised systems, where fruit is automatically sorted according to diameter, mass, colour, shape and blemishes.
The new systems enable Patensie to deliver high quality products, at a total capacity of 60 tons per hour, allowing them pick and pack fruit at optimum ripeness. The company has also invested in modern de-greening rooms with a storage capacity of 1600 tons of fruit; these rooms are used during the early part of the season to ensure the best possible colour development of fruit. An added advantage of these rooms is that they can double as cold storage facilities, enabling us to manage logistics as well as the cold chain effectively. In addition to these modern facilities, Patensie Citrus actively ensures that the quality standards in their pack houses, as well as on the supplierâ€™s farms, are constantly monitored and audited. All producing farms are required to have the necessary GlobalGAP accreditation, and the implementation of these standards ensures that Patensie Citrus remains amongst the leaders in the citrus industry.
MARKET PENETRATION The Patensie Citrus brand is underpinned by the distinctive quality and taste of the citrus grown in the Gamtoos valley; the brand is well established as being proudly South African and can be found in both local and foreign markets. Market penetration is the cornerstone of the citrus industry, particularly gaining access to the more lucrative markets overseas, and Patensie Citrus currently exports to the UK, Canada, Russia, Northern and Southern Europe, China, South East Asia, Far East and the Middle East. To gain and maintain access to these valuable markets, the production of fruit of a high standard is essential, but Patensie also believes that being in direct contact with, and understanding their importers, helps to build the close relationships necessary to supply customers with the correct fruit specifications and quality they desire.
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“The biggest factor, however, is the distrust now placed in the government... How long before the next increase will be announced?”
RECENT CHALLENGES It’s no secret that the South African agriculture industry is facing one of its biggest challenges to date, as the steep increase in minimum wage holds dire implications for the farming and broader communities. Agriculture is the biggest job creator in the rural areas, and government have announced that the minimum wage for farm workers would be increased by 52% to R105 a day, for workers working nine hours a day, which many believe is unaffordable. Gerhard Uys, Managing Director of Patensie Citrus, recently told Farmersweekly.co.za that the wage increase would ultimately affect trust in government, “Mechanisation and automation will be considered on an
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economically realistic basis. The biggest factor, however, is the distrust now placed in the government. The previous wage increases were completely ignored and replaced with the current one. How long before the next increase will be announced?” he asked. Patensie Citrus is evidently one of the most technologically advanced citrus companies within South Africa, and their ability to trace fruit from the receiver all the way back to its origin gives the client the reassurance that the final product is of the highest standard. They currently produce approximately 1.8 million cartons for export annually, and those fruits not adhering to export standards is either sold locally or used for juicing purposes.
P E COLD STORAGE (LTD)
Thank you for all your support this past season. As most of you are probably aware this past season has resulted in many changes at P.E.Cold Storage. We have closed our premises in the P.E. Harbour and consolidated all our operations under one roof at Coega Harbour. We are in the process of adding additional coldrooms at Coega to make up for the loss of capacity due to the closure of the P.E. Harbour facility, and have added forced cooling/Steri facilities for 400 pallets. Maersk has recently opened their container terminal adjacent to our premises in Coega which will result in substantial savings to exporters/producers who ship through our facility to the Coega Harbour. We are also in discussions with MSC about utilising a depot much closer to Coega to ensure similar savings in Inland Haulage. Once again we would like to assure all our customers of our commitment to excellence and service in the forthcoming season.
Kind Regards George Efstratiou - Director PE Coldstorage cnr of Bridgewater Rd and Alycon St, Coega, Port Elizabeth,6000. Our phone number is 041-4050800 and our fax number is 041-4050821. MAR 13 PAGE 41
+27 42 283 0303 www.patensiecitrus.co.za
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