Angon Fruit supplies its products to premium markets globally. In order to supply to these specific markets, the products have to comply with the highest standards. These accredited high standards are integrated into all aspects of the production, packaging and marketing of our fruit.
BRC enrolment program
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) enrolment program for packaging is used to encourage the development of best practices in factories where product safety, hygiene and quality systems for packaging are still developing. The program is designed to help your site progress towards full certification over a period of time. The program provides an introduction to the BRC Standard and certification processes, and has been specifically designed to encourage the development of best practice in terms of product safety, integrity and quality.
Farming for the future is a holistic and scientific farming approach to produce quality food, improve and maintain soil quality, save water and reduce dependence on synthetic inputs. All this is done with a keen focus on protecting natural resources and preserving biodiversity on the farm. Improved soil quality means better water retention and micronutrients for the plant and fewer chemical interventions are needed. The result is a farm that can achieve consistent crops even in the face of severe drought because it has systemically enabled the whole system to become more resilient.
The Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) program was established as a pro-active response by the South African fruit industry under the mantle of Fruit South Africa to promote sound and ongoing improvement of ethical labour practices on South African fruit farms and pack houses. It is a holistic program that identifies problems that may exist, usually by means of an independent third party audit and responds with appropriate support and interventions, including awareness-raising and relevant capacity-building program.
The retailer Marks & Spencer has its own farm assurance scheme called Field to Fork which aims to guarantee the high quality of the food to its consumers. The audit standards are more extensive in requirements than other assurance initiatives and are regularly reviewed to ensure standards are maintained and every farm is regularly audited.
The Global Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) certification system is implemented by all farms. GlobalGAP is connecting farmers and brand owners in the production and marketing of safe food to provide reassurance for consumers. GlobalGAP laid the foundation for the protection of scarce resources by the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices with a promise for a sustainable future.
GRASP is an extension of GlobalGAP, which is called GlobalGAP Risk Assessment on Social Practice. It is a voluntary ready-to-use module developed to assess social practices on the farm, addressing specific aspects of workers’ health, safety and welfare. GRASP was designed to the complement of GlobalGAP and is a certification towards social aspects. Furthermore GRASP can be assessed together with the GlobalGAP.
The Dipar Mobile Quality Control system is used by each Angon Fruit producer to generate a quality evaluation report of the grapes that is packed each day during the harvesting season. This report is generated via a tablet and sends to the exporter to be evaluated. It assists in marketing of the fruit to correct destination, depending on the quality specifications.
Recycling of general waste is done on most of the farms. The purpose of the project was to reduce the general waste derived from farm houses and pack houses to landfill, to reduce the harmful effect on the environment. The aim was to educate all individuals living on the farm on the principles of recycling and living more sustainably. They saw it as a platform to encourage leadership as well as adopt more positive attitudes towards the environment. Each farm now takes responsibility for their own house-hold waste and farm workers are committed to the initiative.
In 2014 the farms started measuring their carbon footprint through the Confronting Climate Change Initiative. Participants willingly submit their electricity, diesel, chemical and packaging use for a 12 month period to a company called Blue North, who analyse the data and then calculates the farm’s carbon footprint accordingly. It’s interesting to note that the farm’s carbon footprint is currently much lower than that of other table grape farms in the Hex- and Breede River valleys. They believe this is due to their commitment to using less chemicals and fertilisers that have a much softer impact on the environment as well as alternative methods such as biological pest control (natural predators that target harmful pests) and by producing and using more organic compost.
An organic approach was taken a few years ago to improve soil quality through the production of compost. The farms use the compost together with the Red Wriggler worm from Australia to help produce a soil that is rich in nutrients and minerals. Nothing goes to waste on the farms. If natural vegetation is cleared it is used in the compost production. Contributions from neighbouring farms and gardening services are also accepted in the form of plant material and organic waste which they add to the compost process. The benefit is that the farms are less dependent on fertilisers and chemical inputs to improve the soil quality and it is a more natural and healthy way of soil preparation.
An energy efficiency audit was conducted via the National Business Initiative (NBI) and Private Sector Energy Efficiency (PSEE). This audit provided some guidelines on where the farms can further improve its energy use. Our farms are committed to finding innovative ways in which they can use less electricity and utilise more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Here are a few ways how our producers have reduced their energy usage:
• Converted all the light bulbs in all the pack houses to energy efficient light bulbs.
• Ensure all pack houses have sufficient natural light.
• Implemented Variable Speed Drives (VSD) in all the irrigation systems, to reduce the amount
of electricity that is used to pump the water.
• Hot water solar geysers are installed at their worker houses.
• Wind powered ventilators are installed at pack houses.
• Installation of Solar PV panels on the roofs of pack houses to reduce the dependency on coal
• Replace old tractors and trucks, with more fuel efficient models.
Owl boxes were installed close to all the pack houses to introduce a more natural pest control method by controlling vermin populations around pack houses. The boxes were manufactured and installed by the Eagle Encounters and are monitored regularly. There are regular sightings of the African Spotted Eagle Owl who seems to fit naturally into this habitat. The result is vermin populations that are kept under control and thus less chemical interventions are necessary. The producers currently use an external pest control company, ECO FIRST, to monitor vermin traps.
The farms are in partnership with the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative and Klein Vondeling Farm to take part in the clearing of alien vegetation on Paarl mountain (about 150 ha which forms part of their land). This entails the clearing of Black Wattle, Port Jackson, Pine, Hakea and other alien trees that put a strain on natural water sources and the natural fynbos vegetation. This must be maintained annually and additional employment is created as a result.
A water footprint study was conducted in 2016. The results will be benchmarked against global norms to determine the efficiency of our water usage. With the aim to reduce the water footprint on the farms, DFM probes were installed in the soil that measures the water moisture and determines the optimum level of irrigation. The water quality from the Berg River is also tested regularly to determine if any intervention is needed.
Comprehensive training programs that are work related are followed at farm level. All these courses are accredited and add to skill level improvement of the employees on the farms. Further education is also encouraged to enhance careers in agriculture via learnership courses at Elsenburg Agricultural College, at tertiary level. Internships are also accepted annually for successful candidates at farm level, to broaden the practical skills and capabilities of these candidates.
All the crèches on the farms are registered and each consists of a caretaker and educator. The crèche takes care of the children from the age of six months to five years, while the employee is at work during the day. A comprehensive education program is also followed to mentally stimulate the young children, so that they can excel at school. The aim is to develop young leaders via the Paarl Youth Initiative (PYI) for the future that can make a difference in their community.
A community centre was erected to provide a fully equipped training, education and computer centre for employees and their children. It serves as a centre of excellence. The centre also serves as a community centre for church and social functions.