On 19 December 2018, Agri-hub applied, on behalf of directly affected groups in the fruit industry, to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, for the continuation of statutory measures (records and returns, and registration) on table grapes, deciduous and citrus fruit, for a four year period (from date of implementation). The current statutory measures were implemented on 30 January 2015 and are due to expire on 29 January 2019.

During 2011, Agri-hub, a Section 21 Company, was formed with the sole purpose of information gathering, collection and distribution in respect of fresh fruit exported from South Africa. In terms of the proposal, Agri-hub will be responsible for the registration, collection, and dissemination of information associated with statutory measures requested in terms of Agri-hub’s mandate as an objective and reliable provider of information in the South African fruit industry.

Market participants in the fruit industry (growers, packhouses, depots and exporters), are currently providing data. Their data is submitted via the industry’s standard transmission files, namely the Dispatch Transmission (PO) files and the Mates Transmission (MT) files. These files are created by systems stakeholders are using, supplied by the participating ISPs (Information Service Providers). Agri-hub initially required individual permission from the stakeholders to be able to use the data, until the current statutory measures were put in place.

Voluntary participation resulted in only ±75% of fruit export data being collected; the implementation of statutory measures has resulted in more than 95% of fruit export data being collected. This is deemed adequate for making strategic and informed marketing decisions. Agri-hub argues that information to be obtained in terms of the proposed statutory measures (registration and records & returns) is deemed essential for effective market operation. The supply of generic market information to all role players on a continuous basis is therefore essential.

The fruit industry requested the following statutory measures:

  • Records & returns: To be able to disseminate information as accurately as possible it is necessary for growers, exporters, packhouses, depots, marketers and information service providers to render records and returns (files mentioned under first point) on an individual basis.
  • Registration: The system of compulsory registration of growers, exporters, packhouses, depots, marketers and information service providers involved, will assist the administration of the statutory measure relating to records and returns.

The grower associations (citrus, grapes, pome- and stone fruit) contributes proportionally to Agri-hub’s annual expenditure. Due to the funding of Agri-hub by the four associations, information can currently be released free of charge to participants.

Any information obtained will be dealt with in a confidential manner by Agri-hub and no sensitive client-specific information will be made available to any party without the prior approval of the party whose rights may be affected. Only processed data which is stripped of all identifying characteristics i.e. exporter, grower, receiver, will be released.

Directly affected groups in the fruit industry are kindly requested to submit any comments regarding support or objections relating to the proposed establishment of statutory measures, to the NAMC in writing (fax 012 341 1911 or e-mail to mathildavdw@namc.co.za) before or on 31 January 2019, to enable the Council to finalise its recommendation to the minister in this regard. – Press release