Sun Orange Farms Community Trust
Due to our Fair Trade accreditation an opportunity presented itself for Sun Orange to provide a vehicle through which our seasonal employees could make a contribution to their community by working on the farm. The premiums earned through the sale of Fair Trade branded fruit are paid into the Sun Orange Farms Community Trust account and utilized for social upliftment in their community. The trust is registered as a non profit benefit organization and provides a conduit for any donor monies through it to the benefit of its activities.
Sun Orange Farms became the world’s first Fairtrade accredited citrus fruit supplier in 2003. Fruit that is marketed under the Fairtade label attracts a premium that is paid to the Sun Orange Farms Community Trust – registration IT 505/2006 established in 2006. Prior to 2006 the premium was managed by the Sun Orange Farms Joint Body that was established under protocol and guidelines determined by the Fairtade Label Organization & Certification Board, Bonn in Germany (FLO-Cert).
Sun Orange Farms Community Trust:
The Community Trust Committee consists of 5 Sun Orange Farms staff members plus 1 member from the management team all as below. We decided to convert from the Joint Body to a Trust because we needed to become a legal entity in order to apply for Vat certification and NPO (Non-Profit Organization) and PBO (Public Benefit Organization) status.
Sun Orange Farms (Pty) Ltd includes a 40% BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) component. The 40% shareholding is held in the Sun Orange Trust registration No IT 52/2006. All permanent Staff are beneficiaries of the Sun Orange Trust. Funding for the Sun Orange Trust shareholding was obtained from the European Union (EU).
The Community Trust Committee consulted with all the staff including the casual and seasonal staff to establish guidelines with regard to distribution of the Fairtrade Premium Fund. This consultative and joint decision making process produced a wonderful vision. We decided to devote 80% of the premium to a developmental centre in the Nomantangsanqa settlement in the Addo district where we source the majority of our staff. Ninety-five percent of all our staff lives in Nomantangsanqa. The 20% balance of the premium is spent on staff training, development and capacity building initiatives.
Completed Premium Work Plan :
- Training Centre
- ABET (Adult Basic Education & Training)
- Sponsor of Tuition fee for University Students
- Creche renovation
- On-site clinic
- Incubator for Sundays Valley Hospital
- School Uniforms (yearly)
- Computer Centre
- Sun Orange Farms Centre of Excellence
All the citrus from Sun Orange Farms (Pty) Ltd is packed and processed at Sun Citrus Packers. Some of these cartons are packed for the Waitrose Supermarket-shelf.
Sun Citrus Packers is a member of the Waitrose Foundation and through this membership we were able to apply for funding to appoint a professional nurse for the onsite clinic at Sun Orange Farms.
The Waitrose Foundation in South Africa was established in 2005, with the aim of improving the lives of farm workers and their families in the communities that supply fruit to the Waitrose Supermarket in the UK. This is in line with the South African Government's aspirations for Black Economic Empowerment.
The Foundation is a Partnership between Waitrose and its supply partners, where we all return a percentage of our profits from the sale of fruit to the farm workers who grow it. The worker committees play a key role in identifying needs and potential projects.
Employee Wellness Drive:
In Consultation with the AIDC EC, Sun Orange Farms has decided to develop its Wellness Workplace approach into a sustainable workplace health solution. Sun Orange Farms uses an approach which incorporates all aspects of health and wellness, such as HIV&AIDS, TB, substance abuse, water, etc.
The AIDC EC has been mandated to proactively address the competitiveness of the agriculture sector in Cacadu District. In lieu of this mandate, the AIDC EC has undertaken to roll-out and assist in the implementation of a comprehensive Wellness Workplace Programmes in commercial agriculture.
In line with the latest developments, the AIDC EC is assisting Sun Orange Farms to implement a comprehensive WPP over a period of twelve months which in the longer term should become integrated into the normal business practices of Sun Orange Farms and as such is a sustainable programme. Through constant mentorship, monitoring and evaluation of interventions, the programme will be adjusted and reviewed to assist the company's individually towards success and sustainability.
Planning and Consultative Process.
We consulted various sectors of the community including local government and all existing charity and church organizations. We determined that we needed to establish an address in the Nomantangsanqa Township and approached local government regarding the availability of vacant ground in the township. We made a presentation to the full council of the Sundays River Municipality and shared our vision for a developmental centre in the Township. We got a very favorable and positive response from Local Government resulting in them granting us a 1.6 hectare site, Ervin no 2279, well positioned and suitable for our development. Local Government have an IDP (Integrated Development Plan) programme and they saw our vision as an opportunity and an extension of their IDP programme.
The local Director of Community Development, Ms Lungi Roji, has been very pro-active in assisting us to set up a private/government initiative. The Thembalethu Aids and Edu Trust was established by the leadership of 3 churches, the Vineyard, NG and Anglican Churches in the Sundays River Valley. This trust is registered in terms of the Trust Monies Protection Act – Reg. No IT 118/2005. We decided to co-ordinate certain efforts with the Thembalethu Trust. We proposed that we have a consultative process with the community and together with interested parties including the Thembalethu Trust and local government we had a day workshop in the community that was facilitated by the Director of Community Services, Ms. Lungi Roji.
The workshop was attended by 86 people including a wide cross-section of different groups like the ANC Women’s League, Sporting bodies, the local Disabled Society, ANC Youth League, local councilors, church groups etc. The workshop resulted in a mandate by the community for the Sun Orange Farms Community Trust to proceed with an ambitious developmental plan that will include the following facilities”
b) Arts and Crafts Workshop
c) Practical Skills Workshop
d) Hiv/Aids Centre
f) Post Office
g) Legal Aids Office
h) Community Anti-Crime Centre
j) Computer Centre
k) Lecture/meeting theatre
l) Administration Centre
m) Mini Soccer Field
n) Netball Court
The Sun Orange Farms Community Trust has pledged R5 million rand towards this project that will be developed over a number a years as the premium funds become available. We will manage the implementation of this project and will also maintain the upkeep of all improvements. A commitment to maintenance of the project was a pre-requisite by local government and also our wish because we would not like to see the deterioration of this development due to lack of maintenance.
Design of the Sun Orange Farms Centre of Excellence.
We approached the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth with a proposal to have a design competition amongst their Architectural students. NNMU agreed to our proposal and the Architectural Faculty Head, Professor Gavin Mac Lachlan made the 28 fourth-year students available to design the centre as their project for the year. We agreed to pay NMMU a fee and also a R5000 prize to the winning student.
We hosted the 28 students to an excursion to the Sundays River Valley that included a site visit in the community, a citrus export packing facility tour and a visit to Sun Orange Farms.
We had various briefing sessions and progress meetings with the students in order to agree on fundamental issues regarding the project. For instance, we wanted the design to reflect the culture of the community, we wanted a very open design with no boundary fences and because the project will be financed as funds became available the design had to be modular.
The design phase was very interesting and quite a fun experience because there were 28 concepts from a range of students including a mixture of male/female, multi-racial and 3 foreign-exchange students which resulted in ideas ranging from basic to quite wild!
Prof Mac Lachlan and the head lecturer short-listed 5 of the most promising projects and we then had a selection presentation. The selection panel consisted of 14 people including the community trust committee and a range of people from the community.
The presentation was conducted at NMMU and after many hours with each of the 5 students having done their individual presentations, the selection committee decided on the master plan for our project. (See attached plans including photo’s of the winning design model)
In terms of priority, as jointly decided at the community workshop, we will commence with the Crèche.
The detailed design of the Crèche was done by the winning student and submitted for approval by local government.
We have established on site including a builder’s yard, 2 x 6m containers donated by Safmarine, male and female toilets and a secure fence around the builder’s yard.
Unfortunately, due to frustrating red tape we cannot commence with the construction of the crèche due to a re-zoning issue. Hopefully this will be sorted out very soon and we expect to commence before year end for completion of the crèche by Easter 2007.
Although we will manage and implement this project we will welcome any outside participation. On completion of the crèche we plan to have an opening ceremony where we will invite interested parties who we are sure will be willing to channel funds into this project. We do not want to “own” the project as much as facilitate the process and to provide a structured conduit for donor funds that will be properly accounted and managed by the Sun Orange Farms Community Trust.
Security and Community Anti-Crime.
We have made provision for a community anti-crime facility in the main library building that will be built at a later stage. We want to promote a culture of community policing in the township and also to install a sense of ownership by the community for this development and have therefore decided to commence the project with this in mind.
We had a consultative process with existing structures in the community and also the South African Police Services and we have their full support to position a container on site to be used as an anti-crime base. The container has been converted to include a door and windows including electricity and agreed relevant sign-writing. The toilets for the site establishment yard can be accessed by the occupants of the anti-crime container.
Our development falls within sector 3 of the community and an established Sector Crime Forum Committee for sector 3 can therefore use this container as a base for their activities. The SAPS (S A Police Services) have agreed to supply 2-way radios for use by the Forum Committee and we will supply basic furniture for use in the container.