Ncedisa’s tailor-made services have fast become highly recommended and desired in the agriculture sector, especially by citrus farmers in the Eastern Cape. April marks the start of the 2021 citrus season, and although it is still early in the season, an increase in the demand for citrus produce alongside a set of new and traditional challenges has already been noticed by the citrus community. These challenges all culminating in a greater need for permanent and seasonal workers who can implement skilled and consistent services to meet the demand for high-quality production volumes.
Citrus fruit is the largest fruit industry in South Africa. South Africa is also the largest citrus exporter in the Southern Hemisphere. The amendment to the Citrus Export Levy alongside the rise in demand for citrus produce due to the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a record-breaking export season in 2020. At the end of the 2020 season, The South African Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) reported that South Africa exported 80-million cartons of oranges, 29.4-million cartons of lemons, 23.6-million cartons of soft citrus, and 15.6-million cartons of grapefruit. Barring any natural disaster, the CGA also mention a projected increase of 300 000 tons of export over the next 3 years.
The surge in demand for citrus brings with it an amplified need for skilled permanent and seasonal farmworkers. Ncedisa plays a vital role in addressing this need through the supply of human and transport resources that help enhance the farmer’s competencies for consistent and high productivity levels.
Ncedisa provides solutions to traditional challenges experienced in the sector relating to shortages of skilled farmworkers, safe and reliable transport systems for farmworkers, and smooth operations in terms of fair treatment between farmers and farmworkers. The interventions implemented by Ncedisa to date have all been successful because of the team’s industry knowledge and emphasis on putting people first. The vision is evident through Ncedisa’s philosophy to deliver tailor-made solutions to the agricultural sector that will optimise sustainable income for farmers while creating rewarding experiences for the workforce.
A predicted, a busier season for 2021 will demand a sizeable workforce, and Ncedisa’s database of skilled workers will be outsourced to the citrus orchards of the Eastern Cape and be a solution to the demand. Ncedisa approaches the season by first trying to source workers from the immediate and surrounding areas of the farms. In instances of employing workers that are migrating, Ncedisa ensures that all legal documentation is in place, relieving farmers of any additional administration hassle.
Enhancing smooth operations and safety practices for the agriculture sector is Ncedisa’s staff transport set up. Ncedisa supplies transport options to the farmer that allows all workers to travel to and from work with a designated and safe transport system. Allocated transport enables farmworkers to feel valued and respected while ensuring that the farmer’s workforce arrives on time and as a group for their allocated duties for the day. Ncedisa demonstrates its commitment to farmers and workers by having a money-back guarantee for the service. If a bus arrives late, the trip for that day is free of charge.
Through the assistance of Ncedisa, farmers have also noted a significant increase in productivity that inevitably leads to a rise in financial income. By understanding the challenges that farmworkers experience in relation to the demands of the farmer, Ncedisa can negotiate amicable solutions and implement systems to benefit both parties. An ideal example of this is during harvest season, where team structures of 25 pickers with an allocated supervisor have been formed. The supervisor is able to communicate any health and safety needs of the workers to superiors while keeping team members motivated. Teams are further incentivised not only with fair minimum wages but with piece work that entails additional remuneration for reaching and exceeding targets.
Ncedisa also ensures that all workers are uniformed, adequately trained and have suitable tools to undertake allocated tasks. Ncedisa manages all the wages as well as administrative processes for permanent and seasonal workers alleviating the farmers of time-consuming procedures, thus allowing them to focus on the land, produce, and farming tasks.
Ncedisa understands the needs and interests of the agricultural sector and has a passion to help sustainable farming flourish through the supply of technical and professional resources. Ncedisa assures all clients that they will offer industry-leading products and services in a fair, consistent, and non-discriminatory manner.