Agri Kultuur December / Desember 2018 - Page 47

The six farming units are all situated in four unique climate zones within the Ceres area, spreading the climate risk of the farming business. Each of the six units are operated independently with its own infrastructure. The combined production of the separate farming units makes Pieter Graaff the single largest individual apple producer in South Africa. Other farming activities includes the cultivation of pears, nectarines, peaches, cherries, wine grapes, vegetables, grain, forestry with a sawmill, cattle, sheep and a thoroughbred stud. Since the onset of his career, Pieter Graaff has made the conscious decision to rather be “a small fish in a big ocean, as opposed to being “a big fish in a small pond”. Unlike many other entrepreneurial farming companies, Witzenberg Properties chose to develop in partnership rather than alone. With this philosophy a business was built with far greater influence across the whole value chain. Witzenberg Properties has a proud tradition of taking care of its people. It is an employer of choice within the greater Ceres area and renowned as a company where people work until retirement. It provides employee benefits beyond the minimum requirements, to provide every employee of Witzenberg Properties the opportunity to live a life of dignity. Tru-Cape managing director, Roelf Pienaar says: “Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing was over the moon when our chairman Mr Pieter Graaff was confirmed as the Western Cape Farmer of the Year, earlier this month, but the news now that he has been awarded by the Agriculture Writer’s Association as South Africa’s National Farmer of the Year has filled us with pride at our close association with him. Our heartiest congratulations go to Pieter. “As the largest exporter of South African apples and pears, Tru-Cape needs innovative growers like Pieter Graaff and others to maintain our competitive edge. His forward- thinking and business-like approach to growing the best South African fruit is a large part of our success.” Pieter and Jolanda Graaff with Plaas Media’s Hugo Lochner who nominated Pieter Graaff. Photo credit: Plaas Media.  AgriKultuur |AgriCulture 47