The agricultural sector in Grabouw in the Western Cape has a constantly growing relationship with Japan.
Fuji Suprema, a top-sold apple variety in South Africa, comes originally from Japan.
Although fresh apples and pears cannot be exported to Japan because of that country's specific phyto-sanitary requirements, processed products like South African wines can be.
"While apples and pears make up 70% of our business, increasingly our wines are finding a welcome home, especially in Japan, which is one of our largest international customers," says Tru-Cape grower James Downes who also produces Shannon Wines.
Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, the largest marketer of South African apples and pears, says that about half a million cartons of South African-grown Fuji apples have been sold in the last two years.
Furthermore, the Japanese earth moving machinery company Komatsu celebrates 100 years in business in 2021. Komatsu's relationship with South Africa stems from 1963 and it provides equipment and support for agriculture.
According to Graeme Cherry of Cherry Diggers, Komatsu plays an integral part in earth preparation for South Africa's deciduous industry which, currently provides more than 1.34 jobs per hectare, which equates to 107 371 jobs and 429 485 people impacted by the success of the industry.
For James Downes, the current holder of Two-a-Day's Chairman's Award for the Highest Income Per Hectare, the role that successful soil preparation plays in the quality of fruit cannot be underestimated, and on his farm the positive impact of Komatsu equipment from Cherry Diggers is meaningful.
"Ten years ago, you never saw an excavator in open land preparing a new orchard. Now it's the norm," says Downes.
Cherry says that improvements to agricultural production are largely due to the machinery available to develop foundations for crops.
"The earthworks, soil preparation, ridging and higher-density pole planting requirements for modern orchards are now all possible thanks to purpose-designed equipment from Komatsu. It is thanks to company's like Komatsu who are invested in South Africa that we able to keep up with international agricultural trends," says Cherry.