Global trade boost as SAFE farm is certified compliant.
South African Fruit Exporters (SAFE) has strengthened its trading opportunities in global markets, with more farms meeting internationally aligned ethical labour best-practice standards.
An independent audit has found that SAFE’s Skilderkrans citrus estate, near Hoedspruit in Limpopo, complies with ethical labour standards set by the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA).
The SIZA certification is aligned with best practice codes established by the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP).
“We are very pleased that Skilderkrans was certified with an overall SIZA risk rating of “A” with no critical or major non-compliance issues,” said SAFE marketing manager, Wibo van den Ende.
“Our congratulations go the farm managers and workers who ultimately are responsible for the hard work that SIZA certification demands.
Audits are now complete for all SAFE citrus farms with audits planned for November for all the SAFE grape farms.
Cultivating 1 470 hectares of citrus and table grapes on 10 farms in South Africa, SAFE exports to the European Union, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Far East.
Skilderkrans became part of the SAFE family in March 2013. We embarked on an intensive programme of development (102ha), infrastructural upgrades and irrigation improvements. The planted hectares, planted using best planting methodolies and practices, now produces export quality early lemons, valencias and grapefruit.
Skilderkrans provides work for 55 people and about 100 seasonal workers.
“We have worked very hard to build good labour relations and we are delighted to have received this SIZA certification,” said Skilderkrans senior manager Hilary Weyers.
In addition to being awarded SIZA certification, Skilderkrans earlier this year successfully passed its annual review of compliance with GlobalGAP (Good Agricultural Practice) standards.
Weyers said that Skilderkrans is making another major improvement to working conditions on the farm by building accommodation for single men and women workers. Married workers live in nearby towns.
Other facilities on the estate include regular visits by a mobile clinic, and on-site HIV Aids testing and support programmed. Skilderkrans has a worker training centre. At least 12 people who started as manual labourers on the farm are now in senior supervisory or operational positions.