*** Peaches and Nectarine producer, Dibesho Serage, who owns Groundstone Farming in Zebediela, Limpopo ***
By Salamina Maelane and Mpho Sekgala
Dibesho Serage is one of the peach and nectarine farmers located and based in Zebediela, Limpopo province in the Republic of South Africa. He started farming in 2012 and he is trading under the banner of his company called Groundstone Farming.
Last week on 08- 10 February, he participated in an Agricultural Trade Show – Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Germany, as a way of promoting his produce for the purpose of attracting export deals. So far he sells his produce nationally to high-end food retail outlets.
He is producing 60 tons of peaches and 50 tons of nectarines per year. He is a member and director of Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber SA and serves as board member of the stonefruit council within HORTGRO – which focuses on production, research and technology, communication, markets, and transformation within the deciduous fruit industry – helped him in building capacity for his company. He is looking forward to be a full time player in the export market through exporting his produce and also working as an agricultural market agent and help other farmers to be involved in the import and export programmes.
*** This is a family that owns and manages the farm, his father in top blue jacket, Dibesho (in a Bermuda and Black top), mother with blue overall top; and CFO in a maroon Jacket who is also his wife ***
His secret for success lies in his investment in capacity building and compliance with food safety and quality standards as well as plant health standards. His company has been certified with the food safety and quality system, Global GAP.
He is one of the farmers that can easily participate in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative. This is the world’s largest free trade area that integrates 55 countries with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion and a population of over 1.7 billion people. He has so far proven that it is possible for any farmer to export as long as they have all the necessary resources to produce reasonable volumes of good quality produce and able to comply with the prescribed market standards. This was not an easy journey for him but with focus and dedication he has made it and he is ready to travel the world to grow his investments through fruit export.
“The trip was extremely eye-opening as it exposed us to innovative developments, trends and international best practices. I was extremely impressed with the kind of technology deployed by the sector in other countries – including the packaging of produce. The lessons learnt are great for us as a family owned business and I’m glad that we also value corporate governance in the sense that although my parents are involved, we ensure we comply with all principles and policies of good corporate governance. We are building a legacy and we believe this business should be sustainable for our future generations. I’ll always remain indebted to the national Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) that provided us the opportunity to travel through the Export Marketing Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme. The support from our government, particularly from our embassy in Brussels was just so humbling.
“We have engaged with potential clients from all over the world – from such countries as India and Saudi Arabia, I’m confident something huge will materialise out of those engagements,” said Dibesho with a tinge of self confidence and double doses of gratefulness and humility.
Ms Salamina Maelane is the Agriculture Attachè at the South African Embassy: Brussels
and Mr. Mpho Sekgala is in Biosecurity and Promotion Division at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in Pretoria.