If the Olympics had a category for the fastest and most effective Citrus harvest team, Ncedisa’s pickers captained by Noah Mutumbi would definitely be bringing home the gold medal. Noah and his team of pickers have had a bumper harvest season thus far, astonishing farmers and fellow workers as the team of 30 workers recently picked 151 crates of lemons in one day.
Ncedisa farmworkers and agriculture systems are becoming highly sought after by many farmers as the protocols implemented can increase productivity and reduce accidents by adhering to good picking practices. Highly skilled and trained supervisors keep staff motivated, valued, and garner positive reputations from farmworkers and farmers alike.
With the picking usually scheduled from 9:00am-5:00pm each day, on this specific day Noah and his dedicated team of 30 workers commenced picking at 10:00am, and by 5:00pm had picked and filled 151 crates of lemon each weighing in at 400kg a create. The average for a team that works from 9:00am- 5:00pm is usually around 1.7 crates per picker, this team, however, managed to harvest just over 5 crates that weigh 400kg each per person in just 7-hours.
Multiple factors can motivate high performance while keeping staff morale positive. First and foremost is adhering to sustainable and fair work environments, sticking to fair and timeous payment systems, and harnessing the strengths of dedicated team leaders such as Noah
Ncedisa believes that hard work should be rewarded and therefore implements a piece work pay system allowing workers to earn over and above the minimum wage. This system means that farmworkers are rewarded should their efforts result in greater harvest quantities for the day simultaneously allowing them control of their earnings. Workers also have faith in Ncedisa as they have become consistent in paying workers fairly and on time and with a dispute management process in place to resolve any issues should they arise.
It should also be noted that no matter the incentives, great teamwork and efficiency are needed to reach record-picking numbers. Noah Mutumbi is an exceptional team leader who keeps his team members motivated. Proving to be a genuine asset to the Ncedisa workforce, he is able to foresee and prevent any problems or barriers, and should they arise, his solution-orientated approach has issues quickly and efficiently sorted.
Noah is known for being a strong and fair leader, but also able to empathise with workers when needed and therefore has garnered the respect of his team members and many who wish to be part of his team. Leading a successful team, Noah goes above and beyond through double-checking, recording, and calculating his team member’s schedules and payments ahead of the official submission. By doing these extra duties, as a leader, he can keep workers informed of where they stand with achieving their goals and the wages they could receive and work towards.
Noah also acknowledges that his team can succeed well on the Sun River Citrus farm in Addo because there are never any delays or shortfalls in terms of access to equipment, crates, and general resources. They do not struggle with any downtime when waiting for crates as the farmer has them ready and available in orchards where the team is picking.
The synergy between farmers such as the one on Sun River Farm and Ncedisa workers is one that most strive for. The president set by a team of 30 workers picking a record-breaking number of 151 crates in one day, is the ideal example of how Ncedisa can augment the farmer’s capacity with labour resources for a successful harvest season.