CITRUS GROWERS ASSOCIATION of SOUTHERN AFRICA
A Strategic Planning Meeting was held in Johannesburg on 23rd February 2010. The aim was to re-look at the Objectives to see if the CGA was still heading in the right direction.
Stuart Symington, FPEF CEO, called in to Facilitate at CGA Strategic Planning Session held on 23rd Feb. 2010
||CGA Directors, Per Noddeboe, Tini Engelbrecht, Flip Smit and Chris Maggs in discussion
|CGA Directors Hannes Nel, George Hall, Justin Chadwick (CEO) and Mike Woodburn
CGA Directors Hannes Hobbs, Mike Wafer (Alt), Israel Nemaorani, Kobus van Zyl, Fanie VIljoen and Philip du Plessis attacking the issues in the boardroom while Hoppie Nel, Graham Piner, Michael van Niekerk (Alt) study the objectives and aims with Paul Hardman (CGA) and Vaughan Hattingh (CEO - CRI) sitting out in the gardens.
It was interesting to note that the Objectives are basically the same as they were over 10 years ago, with the addition of a few points that the growers have requested in the past 5 years.
Each of the eight objectives that were teased out during the process has sub-objectives that will assist the staff and Board as we tackle grower delivery. The objectives (8) are as follows:
- Administer, fund and resource the CGA GroupThis objective talks to good governance, good communication with growers and ensuring adequate funding : Gain, retain and optimize market accessThe bedrock of CGA activities, and the reason for formation of CGA some 13 years back – this still remains our core activity. Of importance is the addressing of sanitary and phytosanitary issues; in addition the Board has emphasized more attention be given to tariff barriers.
- Fund, control and implement research and development : if market access is the end we strive for, research is the means of getting there. Over the years we have developed structures and systems that deliver a good research product to the citrus industry. This needs to continue, and be continuously improved to ensure that we remain world leaders in citrus research.
- Provide product and quality assurance : Quality remains the key differentiating factor in the market, and South Africa needs to enhance its image as a producer of excellent quality, safe, sustainable, ethically produced citrus fruit.
- Engage with government and other stakeholders : CGA’s role in working with other stakeholders in achieving its objectives was stressed. The challenges facing growers are enormous; with our resources we can but address a few. But by harnessing the strengths of government, by joining hands with other fruit sectors, and by working in “coopetition” with global producers we can make a difference.
- Assist grower profitability and sustainability : Information is key to making informed decisions, and the CGA has a role to play in providing not only growers, but the entire industry with good information. It is also under this objective that market development was discussed – with the onus on variety focus groups to guide CGA in market development initiatives that will assist sustainability.
- Drive industry transformation : Transformation means change, and many things are changing in South Africa (and the world). CGA needs to drive these changes so that the outcome is in the best interests of the South African citrus industry as a whole.
- Facilitate efficient logistics : Growers have control over their production practices and in many cases also in the packhouse, but the logistics chain is an area where grower interests need to be investigated and efficiencies improved. In many cases growers are taking risks over which they have no control, or paying for inefficiencies that have become a way of life.
This can be compared to the original Mission Statement and Key Strategies as shown below:
The Citrus Growers Association will maximise the long-term profitability of its members by:
- providing the industry with access to global markets,
- optimising cost effective production of quality fruit,
- continual commitment to research, development and communication with all stakeholders,
- caring for the environment and the community within which we operate.
- to gain and retain market access,
- to set standards for fruit and quality,
- to fund and control research and development,
- to drive industry transformation
- to represent the growers
- to communicate effectively,
- to optimise the structure of the C.G.A.
The CGA was established by citrus growers in the wake of deregulation in 1997. Growers were concerned that certain functions previously carried out by the Citrus Board could be discontinued or downsized. With the demise of a single channel marketing system there are often questions about “who represents the citrus grower?” The CGA believes that it is their role to fill this void. Growers interests are furthered through representation to citrus industry stakeholders – including government, exporters, research institutions and suppliers to the citrus industry.
The CGA represents the interests of the producers of export citrus. In total approximately 1400 growers throughout Southern Africa (including Zimbabwe and Swaziland) are members of the Association.
The growers are organised into eighteen regions as follows:-
|N Cape - Vaalharts
||Sundays River Valley
||E Cape Midlands
||N Cape - Oranje Rivier
There are also two directors who represent the previously disadvantaged farmers in the Northern and Southern regions.
Market access is the cornerstone of the citrus industry – particularly access to the more lucrative markets (USA, EU and Far East). To gain and maintain access to these markets requires the production of fruit of the required standard. Providing citrus fruit of the required standard and adhering to food safety and phytosanitary requirements can only be maintained through well directed research.
Research is therefore considered the primary function of the Association. Citrus Research International (CRI) is situated in Nelspruit. The Association drives the growers research effort; ensuring that research funding is adequate and sustainable; determining growers research priorities, directing the research effort and controlling research expenditure. CRI has its own website www.cri.co.za
Transformation within the citrus industry has become another leg of the CGA’s responsibilities.
Following on from a Transformation Workshop held in July 2008, the transformation portfolio is being re-structured. Extension officers have been appointed in the north and south, with a newly created position of Transformation Administrator at the CGA offices in Hillcrest whose task will be to co-ordinate transformation within the citrus industry. Mentorship also plays a big part in assisting previously disadvantaged citrus farmers to improve their knowledge.
Linked to the Transformation process, is the Citrus Academy which was formed at the beginning of 2005 and is now a separate entity. The Citrus Growers Association recognised the shortage of skills and technical capacity as one of the major threats to the ability of the South African citrus industry to maintain its competitive edge in world markets. In addition, there has been an increasing participation in the industry by previously disadvantaged individuals through Black Economic Empowerment and land redistribution initiatives. It has been found that PDI’s require, in most cases, development of basic literacy, technical and business management skills to enable them to establish sustainable and profitable farming enterprises. You can read more about the Citrus Academy by logging onto their website www.citrusacademy.org
Communication to and from growers is considered essential. Growers are kept abreast of industry issues through the use of bulk e-mails, the website, the S A Fruit Journal, roadshows and personal contact.
- The SA Fruit Journal is a bi-monthly magazine which is shared with deciduous and sub tropical and sent to all growers of export citrus. Companies can advertise in these publications by contacting Ignatius Vlok on 082-3312127.
- Research Symposiums and Grower Days – Research symposiums and Roadshows plus the bi-annual Citrus Symposium are other very successful ways of reaching the growers.
- The CGA has published three Transformation booklets. The first one was Our Citrus Transforms in 2005/6, followed by Women in Citrus in 2008 and most recently Youth in Citrus in February 2010.
- The CGA holds its Annual General Meeting in a different part of the country each year. So far it has been held in Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit, Stellenbosch, Letsitele, Hoedspruit, Tshipise and the Drakensberg in KZN. This gives citrus growers from all around the country the chance to attend the AGM and meet with the CGA directors and staff. The next AGM will again be held at Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg on 17th August 2010 at 18h00. Contact details if you would like to attend email@example.com
Logistics is now another area in which the growers of southern Africa have requested that the CGA gets involved. A Logistics Co-ordinator has been appointed to investigate more reasonable ways of growers getting their fruit to the harbours, and to the viability of increasing the usage of Maputo harbour.
Updated March 2010