Fruit from South Africa is increasing in demand and being enjoyed all over the world.
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There is no doubt that South African citrus will overcome the crisis created by Covid-19. This is the view of newly elected chairperson of the South African Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA), Cornel van der Merwe.

Van der Merwe succeeds outgoing chair Ben Vorster, a prominent citrus grower from Letsitele in the north of the country.

He is currently marketing and packaging director at Komati Fruit, a leading citrus and subtropical producer and exporter, and has served in various senior management positions in the citrus sector for more than ten years, as well as having served on the CGA board for eight years.

“The global health crisis caused by Covid-19 may prove to be a temporary obstacle to our growth, but I have no doubt that we will overcome it,” says Van der Merwe. “As food producers, we have a responsibility to both our country and to international consumers to supply food. More importantly, we have a responsibility of ensuring the job security of all our workers, especially during a period of global crisis.”

However, he does admit that it will take a long time for South Africa to recover from the coronavirus 19 outbreak. “The CGA needs to ensure that it plays a leading role in ensuring we overcome this crisis successfully, and in a manner that continues to help grow our local economy. I am confident that with the leadership of our organisation, even the most difficult challenges will be conquered, and that we will maintain our competitive position in the global citrus sector.

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Milaan Thalwitzer, voorsitter van die Komati Groep, ‘n familiebesigheid in sy vierde generasie, is verlede week deur die Tzaneen Sakekamer as Sakepersoon van die Jaar vereer.

Milaan se pa, Theodore Maximillian Thalwitzer, het in 1954 ‘n plaas op die oewer van die Letabarivier gekoop. In 1965 het Milaan by sy pa aangesluit. Die aanvanklike 100ha is uitgebrei tot die konglomeraat van maatskappye en ondernemings wat dit vandag is. Hulle verbou sitrus, mangos, litchies, bloubessies, piesangs, makadamias, avokado’s en suikerriet. Sewentig persent van hulle produkte word na 30 lande uitgevoer. Hulle het ook plase in Malalane, Hoedspruit, Hectorspruit en Burgersfort.

“Sukses is die vermoë om geleenthede wat na jou kant toe kom te, benut. Daarna sit jy baie ure in om die geleenthede uit te bou.”

“Dis lekker om erkenning vanuit jou eie omgewing te ontvang,” sê Milaan by die Komati Groep se hoofkantoor in Letsitele. “Ons boerdery was gelukkig om in ‘n goeie landbouomgewing geleë te wees. Ons kon van dié basis af uitbrei.”

Die omgewing het baie verander sedert die vyftigerjare, sê hy. “In daardie jare was ons baie boere, selfs soveel as veertig.” Vandag is die meeste subtropiesevrugteboere in die omgewing groot kommersiële familieboerderye. “Tog is dit verblywend om te sien dat die jongmense terugkom na die omgewing om hul by die familieboerderye aan te sluit.”

Sy grootste uitdaging was om goeie korporatiewe bestuur te vestig en volhoubaar toe te pas. “Sukses is die integriteit waarmee jy sake doen, dat jy verantwoording kan doen aan jou omgewing en sy mense, en om ‘n voorbeeld aan ander te stel.”

Vir die volle berig besoek graag: Letaba Herald

What is the importance of water? “Water is life” is such a common expression that we use it almost as a cliché. However, that phrase is probably one of the most powerfully true messages the whole creation bears witness to. If, as we learn from geography, the earth is 2 3 water, and science says the human body is 70 water, then it goes without saying that no life can be sustained without water. So much has been written about the importance of water. From an early age we have been taught the water cycle and how it sustains life, but we still continue to take it for granted. We pollute water basins, rivers, and even the atmosphere that provides us with this precious commodity.

So, once again, let’s try to consider the extremely important message that water is everything and water changes everything. We take a look at the significant drop in dam levels from 2018 to 2019 for Limpopo and Mpumalanga as per DWAF reporting. Added the estimated water usage per area. Hopefully this will make us all realise that water is a problem and that we all have to start looking after our most valuable commodity.

Reservoir River Last year
Tzaneen Groot-Letaba 26.9 8
Kwena Crocodile 62.4 41.5

(Source: Department of Water and Sanitation Weekly State of the Reservoirs on 30.9.2019)

Water Use in South Africa

Agricultural Use (including irrigation) 60%
Environmental Use 18%
Urban & Domestic Use 11.5%
Mining & Industrial Use 10.5%

(Source: Nature Divided Land Degradation in South Africa, Ashwell, A & Hoffman, T, 2001)

Water Use in Households

Toilets 24%
Showers 20%
Washing Machine 17%
Other eg. cooking, washing dishes and clothes, drinking, etc. 8%
Faucet 19%
Leaks 12%

(Source: Water – How is it used at home, HE Jacobs, LC Geustyn and BF Loubser, 2016)

Households with Gardens

Gardening 46%
Other 54%

(Source: Water – How is it used at home, HE Jacobs, LC Geustyn and BF Loubser, 2005)

A further problem adding to this demand is water quality. Water quality is defined as water which is safe, drinkable and appealing to all life on earth. In South Africa the scarce fresh water is decreasing in quality because of an increase in pollution and the destruction of river catchments, caused by urbanization, deforestation, damming of rivers, destruction of wetlands, industry, mining, agriculture, energy use and accidental water pollution. As the human population increases, there is an increase in pollution and catchment destruction.

The Jackson Low Seeded (LS) grapefruit was discovered by Mr Ferdi Esselen on a farm in the Karino area near Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Province in South Africa.

The Jackson LS is protected by Plant Breeder’s Rights as per the Plant Breeder’s Right Act No 15 of 1976 (as amended), which prohibits illegal propagation (PBR No PT 3736).

Jackson LS will be planted and marketed within the Premium Grapefruit Cooperative within limited hectarage. Processed product will be marketed as a segmented product under the Sweet Sunrise™ name only.

The origin of the cultivar is a branch mutation on a Jackson Grapefruit tree in the Karino area near Nelspruit.

The Jackson LS has been chosen exclusively for its very high internal quality, unique taste, low naringine levels and excellent external colour.

Komati Group is fortunate to have the sole right to the marketing and production of this Sweet Sunrise grapefruit.

Fruit Characteristics

  • The fruit size is mainly medium to small but tends to produce larger fruit if thinning actions are applied
  • The ripening time is approximately two to three weeks later than Marsh Grapefruit
  • Fruit shape is mostly round with a small shoulder at the calyx end, fruit have low seed content
  • Skin is smooth with a white to light brown internal colour
  • Fruit is juicy with a soft vesicle and good internal fruit quality
  • Fruit can be peeled like a navel and eaten without any naringin taste
  • The fruit has an unusual and refreshing fruit punch like flavour

Tree characteristics

  • Tree characteristics are unique with a more compact tree than Star Ruby and with smaller leaves
  • Production is excellent with fruit characteristically hanging in a cluster
  • Jackson LS is compatible with various trifoliate rootstocks like Troyer and Carrizo citrange and Swingle citrumelo

Climate requirements

  • The Jackson LS is suitable for application in all of the grapefruit production areas in South Africa
  • It is highly adapted to the warmest parts where yield could be a problem on other grapefruit

Exclusively packed for Woolworths Food

We choose locally grown Sweet Sunrise Grapefruit for maximum flavour.

We simply squeeze the fruit at the height of season and capture its delicious juice in a bottle, nothing else.
There are no added preservatives and it is very high in vitamin C.

By Elly Mokoena

5 April 2016

Piet Simelane our Senior Section  leader at Vergenoeg Farm was the first to experience the presence of the Kruger National Park lions on Vergenoeg farm. As from the end of January the residents of Vergenoeg Farm were no longer neighbors to the lions they were now guests on the farm.

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Bosveld Group, the biggest private grower and exporter of citrus in South Africa, has rebranded in August 2017 and will now be known as the Komati Fruit Group.

In a relatively short span of time, the Bosveld Group of companies grew its operation from a mere 100 ha in 1954 to more than 5 500 ha of citrus and sup-tropical fruit production.
According to the group, the time has come to strengthen its brand identity and has done this by consolidating national brands from the different farms and production regions, as well as their exporting company.

The group of companies is rebranding to form a single brand identity known as Komati Fruit. There will, however, be no changes in shareholding, control or management of the group.

The Agricultural Writers of South Africa presented Bosveld Citrus (now known as Komati Fruit Group) with their prestigious award for National Farmer of the Year in 2014.

Komati Group is very proud to announce the addition of one of the oldest and best-known citrus farms to our family. After lengthy negotiations and a long wait for approval, the farms of Crocodile Valley Citrus – now known as Crocodile River Estate – were transferred to Golden Frontiers Citrus on 13 June 2018.

Crocodile River Estate is an excellent addition to the Group due to its location in a climatic region which differs considerably with that of the Onderberg and any other production region where the Group is involved.

This location will allow the Group to further diversify our product range and timing of production. Although the farm is not in the prime status which gave it international recognition, we see a lot of potential and believe that we can return the farm to its former glory by returning to the basics and working smarter.

The farm currently produces citrus, macadamias and avocados. We believe that we can build on the current product base but also expand by planting more avocado and macadamia trees and adding soft citrus to the food basket. We are proud and happy to welcome all the employees from Croc to the family and hope that they will enjoy their journey with the Group in the effort to remain the most effective and sustainable citrus producer in South Africa.