Entabeni named top citrus producer

2017-06-22 06:00
Local farm and BEE project of The Co-op, Entabeni in Patensie, received the Top Producer Award of oranges in the Eastern Cape. Behind the success of the farm are Entabeni Board Chairperson Khaya Katoo, Co-op BEE Manager Deon Heyns, Entabeni Administrator Crewelyn Katoo and Entabeni Project Manager Louis Nel.                              Photo:SUPPLIED

Local farm and BEE project of The Co-op, Entabeni in Patensie, received the Top Producer Award of oranges in the Eastern Cape. Behind the success of the farm are Entabeni Board Chairperson Khaya Katoo, Co-op BEE Manager Deon Heyns, Entabeni Administrator Crewelyn Katoo and Entabeni Project Manager Louis Nel. Photo:SUPPLIED

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LOCAL farm and BEE project of The Co-op, Entabeni in Patensie, was granted the Top Producer Award of oranges in the Eastern Cape.

Independent researcher, Frudata, announced its economic survey findings for the 2015/16 season publicly where Entabeni not only walked away with the top accolade, but was also rated as 4th best on the soft citrus producer ranking.

A number of criteria are set out to determine the viability, cost-effectiveness and competitive advantage of farms. Farms are evaluated against their peers in the region and/or province.

“This is indeed good news for our farm. We know now that we are doing the right things and will continue to grow our farm” says Entabeni Board Chairperson Khaya Katoo.

Success story

From operating at a loss, The Co-op and its partners joined forces in 2014 to turn the farm into a profitable venture after only one year. This mixed farming enterprise near Patensie in the Gamtoos Valley, comprises 48ha citrus and about 120ha mixed cash crops like maize, potatoes, wheat, pumpkins and teff.

More than farming

According to Co-op BEE Manager, Deon Heyns, the Orange Producer Award emphasizes the commitment and passion the partners have for their business and they see it as further motivation to develop the farm.

As a result of the good business practices supported by The Co-op’s financing scheme Entabeni can now plant additional orchards and acquire new farming equipment and implements from their very own earnings.

Entabeni has eight shareholders holding 80% of the shares and a Workers’ Trust owning 20% of the shares. There are 20 worker-beneficiaries on the farm, whilst the land is owned by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The Co-op employs expert technical staff, including agronomists, agricultural economists and irrigation technicians. These expert services, including veterinarian services, are made available to emerging farmers to enhance the production capacity of their businesses.

In conjunction with Land Bank and the South African Government, The Co-op offers financing to emerging black farmers. Whilst the funds are provided through Land Bank, The Co-op is responsible for the assessment of applications, administering of facilities and credit control and the bearing of most of the risk relating to the loans. The Co-op furthermore provides farmers with project management and planning support, as well as financial and technical training to impart the necessary business acumen required to be profitable and sustainable.

According to CEO Henk Agenbach, the achievement of Entabeni is in line with the Co-op’s Vision. “We want to become the leading agricultural business in Africa that ensures the development of our communities. We pride ourselves on the relationship we have with our members and partners. Entabeni is the epitome of farming inspiration.”

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