Fruit industry adopts socio-economic accord

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Stakeholders in the South African fruit industry have adopted the Fruit Industry Social Accord, which commits them to work together to achieve socio-economic growth to best position the fruit industry as a world leader.

The signing of the accord comes after consultations were held across the country, which mainly focused on stakeholders being actively involved in the primary production of the fruit value chain.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said the principal stakeholders in the fruit industry, representing fruit industry associations, government, organised civil society and labour, have mutually accepted the principles, guidelines and common objectives contained in the Fruit Industry Social Compact (FISC).

The FISC is an accord between government, industry and labour, adopted as a point of departure for its work, during the inaugural Fruit Industry Value Chain Round-Table (FIVCRT) held on 28 February 2014.

The (FIVCRT) is a platform where government, labour and industry leaders from different nodes in the value chain, meet to coordinate processes aimed at enhancing the value chain outcomes and securing an enduring global advantage for South Africa.

“The FISC also informed the establishment of five working groups, [including] employment and worker welfare, trade, transformation, resources, and research and development, based on the work streams identified in the FISC.

“The consultations started early in 2019 and were concluded in 2020. During the 25th virtual sitting of the FIVCRT held on 30 August 2021, government, labour, fruit industry bodies and civil society representatives adopted the Fruit Industry Social Accord,” the department said.

Based on the concept document of the department, the established value chain roundtable forums bring together participants from different sectors of a value chain. The forums also provide a platform for private sector and government partners to develop and implement joint action plans for market success over the medium- to long-term.

“By adopting the accord, the stakeholders committed their respective organisations to working individually and jointly in the areas of employment and worker welfare, trade, transformation, resources, and research,” the department said.

The five growth enablers identified in the social compact aim at achieving the following:

  • Enhancing the role and level of participation of previously disadvantaged individuals through investment in infrastructure, skills development, empowerment, economic development and successful land reform programmes;
  • Increasing employment opportunities, skills development and the welfare of employees in the fruit industry through expansion of productivity, investment in skills development and the improvement of workers’ standard of living; and
  • Improving global and local trade competitiveness by fast-tracking coordinated activities to enhance market access and market development, enhancing food safety and bio-security and removing barriers to trade.

 

“The parties of the accord consensually commit and agree that action and implementation should be the hallmark of their partnership,” the department said. 

The adoption of the Fruit Industry Social Accord comes as Treasury announced in the Budget Review document on Wednesday that government has allocated R1.3 billion to the Agricultural Production, Biosecurity and Resources Management Programme for inspection, quarantine and biosecurity.

The Budget Review states that among other things, the allocation will also be used to strengthen the biosecurity, sanitary and phytosanitary standard required by international markets. – SAnews.gov.za

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