SOUTH AFRICA – The Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA)’s board joined KAT River Citrus Company in a momentous celebration to commemorate 100 years of growth, impact, and achievement in South Africa.

Although officially registered on December 9, 2022, Katco has been in existence since 1922. The celebration was marked with an event that brought together the CGA Board, staff, and 300 esteemed guests.

It was a testament not just of survival but of sustained growth and prosperity, a feat made even more remarkable considering the challenging environment.

In the words of Justin Chadwick, CEO at CGA, “The endurance and evolution of Katco over a century exemplify resilience and vision.”

Jock Danckwerts, Chairman since 1998 alongside Jannie de Villiers, Ernest de Villiers, Barry Mildenhall, Brian Mildenhall, Glenam Knott, Peter van Coller, Richard Danckwerts, Freek Dreyer, and David de la Harpe, the Katco Board has steered the cooperative, positioning it strategically for the next century.

“What sets Katco apart is its adherence to family values and a profound sense of community, reflecting the essence of the East Cape Midlands region,” remarked Chadwick.

“The strength of Katco lies in its familial bonds and cohesive community spirit,” added Ernest de Villiers, a longstanding member of the Board.

This event comes slightly after Fruit South Africa, a non-profit organization hosted a celebration in Pretoria to commemorate a decade of fruit industry collaboration.

Although Fruit SA has been around as a platform for deliberations between the different fruit sectors for longer than ten years, it was in 2014 that the organization was officially established with full-time staff.

The company has since grown making a notable contribution of more than R63 billion (USD 3.4 billion) in foreign revenue of fruit exports in South Africa.

“FruitSA’s objective is to transform 30% of the entire value chain by 2038,” announced Fhumulani Ratshitanga, FruitSA CEO.

Fundamental Growth in Eastern Cape Citrus export volume

The growth trajectory of the Eastern Cape citrus export volumes which is worth noting is another indication of Katco’s effectiveness in the sector.

Over the past decade, both the East Cape and Patensie regions have witnessed exponential growth. From less than 100,000 cartons in 2012, the East Cape surged to over 2.2 million cartons by 2023.

Similarly, Patensie’s numbers soared from 2 million cartons in 2012 to an impressive 13 million cartons.

The outlook according to CGA, remains promising, with burgeoning orchards and a reliable water supply poised to drive further growth, particularly in Patensie, promising a potentially remarkable future.

In essence, Katco’s centenary celebration not only commemorates a century of success but also signifies a promising future for the citrus industry in South Africa, underlining resilience, quality, and a steadfast commitment to excellence.

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