ASDA-IPL provides support to emerging South African table grape farmers
May 31st 2011, 08:06
BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 30, 2011: Walmart businesses ASDA and IPL, in conjunction with the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI), recently facilitated a visit of emerging table grape farmers to the United Kingdom.
SATI, whose objective it is to create a progressive, equitable and sustainable South African table grape industry, has partnered with ASDA-IPL as part of its ongoing program aimed at supporting the transition to world class standards of the historically disadvantaged segment of table grape producers, thereby ensuring the sustainability of an already world class industry and its new growers.
Market mediation programs such as this one in partnership with ASDA-IPL play a significant role in improving interaction and communication between producers and markets, the cornerstones of a viable industry.
The visit to ASDA-IPL’s operations in the UK is being funded by SATI and ASDA-IPL. A small grant was also received from the South African Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF), which is funded from the export council grant provided by the Department of Trade & Industry.
The six business owners and equity shareholders invited on the tour (see photo attached) were selected through an open application process in which prospective participants were evaluated by SATI. Applicant selection was based on ownership demographic, ownership structure, business needs and marketing context. Applicants are all owners, co-owners or shareholders of production units in the Northern and Western Cape Provinces, respectively.
The tour included exposure to IPL’s marketing operations and meeting various receivers and market agencies already dealing with South African grapes. A representative of the South Africa embassy in the United Kingdom attended meetings, and market research service provider, Promar International, played an integral part in planning and coordinating the tour to ensure an optimal learning experience.
Summary of trip objectives:
1. Observing distribution channels first hand to understand branding and standards requirements;
2. Determining quality expectations;
3. Comparing other country supplier quality with that of South African produce;
4. Determining the condition of grapes upon arrival in the United Kingdom;
5. Determining which cultivars to plant;
6. Exploring direct supply to retailers where this might appear feasible;and
7. Matching cultivar with quality and buyer expectations.
An ASDA-IPL spokesman commented, “ASDA-IPL has traded with South Africa for many years and formed strong working relationships with a number of producers particularly across fresh produce and wine. IPL’s unique business model is a comprehensive one which benefits growers by paying them a fair price for top quality products, while charging a lower price to consumers. In terms of farming practices, IPL has built a solid reputation for implementing measures at supplier farms to promote sustainable agriculture, including water conservation, community involvement, and other initiatives. ”
In addition to this tour, both ASDA and SATI are engaged in various training curriculum development programs that cover technical, marketing and legal aspects of the grape business in South Africa. Numerous other training initiatives in relevant fields are also supported on a producer application driven basis.
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