City avo packing business expands

2007-12-04 00:00

KZN Avo Packers, under the leadership of owner Bobby Rajhununan, is now focused on attaining a European Good Agricultural Practice certificate, in order to export fruit directly to Europe, following the latest investment in the business.

The new 720 m2 facility enables the business, which employs 40 staff, to sort, wash, wax, re-grade, size and package avocados and other fruit for distribution to various markets across South Africa.

Rajhununan, who takes a hands-on approach to the business, said that they also work with other fruit, including mangoes and citrus fruit.

His path to business-ownership represents a 25-year-long journey, having initially worked in a familyowned supermarket in Greytown. After a brief period during which he owned a supermarket in New Hanover in 1990, Rajhununan ended up in Pietermaritzburg, selling mealies and oranges.

“One day I went to pick up my stock from a farmer in Richmond and he did not have my citrus because it was raining. He offered to sell the avos to me. I was unsure of the market potential of avocados. Reluctantly, I took it and began pre-packing it at Mayor’s Walk. Within half an hour, the whole lot — all 200 packs — were sold.”

While the birth of the business can be traced back to this incident, Rajhununan said the direct street sale of avocados soon became a competitive business. He then decided to think of alternative business ideas related to this fruit.

“I then started packing from my garage and selling small amounts to buyers in Johannesburg. The business grew and I secured formal premises in the Willowton area … and later moved to Mkondeni.”

Rajhununan is now the owner of several racehorses and is also involved in racehorse breeding.

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