ADDO fruit processors are collaborating with a leading international fruit processing company to produce high- quality export products.
A joint venture incorporating five prominent citrus producers in the Addo region has acquired Valor Fruit Processors.
Valor has been processing citrus fruit from the Gamtoos and Sundays River Valleys at its factory, which is now in Addo, for more than 60 years.
The plant – acquired by the Sundays River Citrus Company (SRCC), Argentinian fruit processing company San Miguel, Raptotron, Sitrusand and Coerney Packers – will focus on producing concentrated citrus juices as well as essential oils.
The SRCC is a cooperative formed by various citrus growers of the Sunday River Valley. Managing director Ken Nieuwenhuizen said he was delighted with the acquisition and the "significant potential" for adding value to the partners in the venture and their members.
Pieter Nortje, owner of Sitrusand, a citrus grower and packer, said: "The inclusion of San Miguel leads to the contribution of valuable expertise in both the processing and marketing functions of the newly acquired fruit processing business."
San Miguel has been producing and exporting fruit since 1954 and has about 7500ha of citrus plantations in Argentina and Uruguay.
Nortje said the new venture would focus on producing high- quality export products for "premium international clients", but would also continue to utilise opportunities in the expanding local juice market in support of its objectives to maximise local growers' returns.
"With future plans in store the creation of employment opportunities will arise as expansions materialise," Nieuwenhuizen said.
He could however not provide an estimate of how many jobs could potentially be created.
"This transaction is one of those very rare ones that is really perfect for all parties concerned. I believe that in the long run it will benefit all major stakeholders, including shareholders, fruit suppliers, employees, customers and the Eastern Cape in general", Wallace Barnes, former owner of Valor, said.
Nieuwenhuizen said the five producers were in the process of changing the company's name.