Improving farming, planting more table grape vines, increasing workers’ housing, and improvements to crèche facilities are all high on the agenda for Pieter Krynauw, the new farm manager at Nuwepos, SAFE’s new farm near Vanrhynsdorp on the Olifants River.
Pieter’s wife, Marisa, will be at his side, as Compliance Officer, responsible for overseeing Fairtrade and BRC (British Retail Consortium) accreditation on the farm.
Pieter had been Production Manager at the farm, Mont Piquet, in Piketberg, for a number of years before moving with his family to Nuwepos earlier this year.
Originally from Wellington, Pieter began his life as a farmer growing table grapes in the Boland. He qualified at the Boland Agricultural School after studying agriculture at Worcester College.
“I have been farming table grapes for 18 years,” he said, “and adapting to conditions at Vanrhynsdorp won’t be that difficult.
“The growing season here is shorter than what I am used to from my years of farming in Wellington due to the extremely high temperatures, however, the grapes are under netting which protects the vines from the heat – and the birds,” he remarks with a smile.
“I started here at the beginning of September and am aware of the challenges that face me, but I am looking forward to meeting them,” says Pieter.
“I can see my family will be happy here and I am delighted that Marisa will be part of the business.” The couple has two children – Pieter-Johann (9) and six-year-old Sonia-Mari.
“Nuwepos boasts 106ha of table grapes, of which 9ha are new varietals. They also have 4.5ha raisin producing grapes as well as 650 White Dorper ewes.
“Once the drought is well and truly behind us, we will increase the number of sheep to around 1 000.
“Although we have had good rains so far this year, our farm dams are still only about 50% full, which is well below average. We have enough water for this coming season, but more rain will be welcome.”
Pieter says there are aggressive plans for development in the pipeline for Nuwepos. These include another 50ha to be planted as table grapes, expansion of the pack houses, and more housing for staff.
“At present, we can accommodate about 320 people on the farm, but we will be building hostels to increase the capacity to 450 or so in the near future.”
The existing crèche facilities will also be expanded to accommodate the young children of the increased staff complement.
“We are also busy implementing a new automated drinking water purification system, which will provide ample high-quality drinking water for the whole farm.”
Pieter says he enjoys SAFE’s policy of allowing farm managers to run “their” farms in their own way, with support from head office, – but provided they “deliver results.”
“For me,” says Pieter, “it is important that everything we do is sustainable in the long term. That’s why I am excited about being here; we are building our future.”