Infrastructure upgrades at SAFE’s Bonathaba and Zwartfontein farms near Wellington in the Western Cape are nearing completion, and will be operational in time for the December grape harvest.
“We have significantly upgraded the packing houses, enlarged the storage facilities and installed new cooling plant to accommodate the increased harvests expected from the new plantings on the two farms,” says SAFE general manager of farming operations, Dries van Rooyen.
“Amenities now include staff canteens and relaxation areas. Both farms also have new workshop facilities, with chemical stores. All the facilities are BRC compliant, in keeping with requirements from our overseas customers.”
In 1998, the BRC (British Retail Consortium) produced the first edition of the BRC Food Technical Standard and Protocol for food suppliers, which has become the benchmark for food producers throughout the UK and around the world. The standard is designed to ensure best practice in the handling, storage and distribution of products and to promote continual improvement in operating practices. Retailers world wide expect their suppliers to adhere to BRC standards, and SAFE farms meet these expectations.
There is a staff complement of about 700 on both farms, which have crèches for pre-school children as well as after school care facilities and a clinic.
“For the permanent workers who live on Zwartfontein we have built brick houses to replace the temporary homes as well as two new hostels on the farms for single employees. Many of the workers live in the nearby villages and we provide transport to the farms daily,” says van Rooyen.
“By the end of November, work will be completed on the upgraded packing houses, and we will be able to test the new equipment on the packing lines for the coming grape harvest early in December.”
|The newly completed offices at Zwartfontein||New packlines at Zwartfontein are ready for the grape harvest|