One of the conditions of the statutory measures is that at least 20% of levy income be spent on transformation (development of emerging role players).
For the first 2 years of the statutory measures the main focus of management was on core functions including research, information gathering and distribution, crop protection and setting of standards. An evaluation of the level of involvement of black farmers in the pecan nut industry was done to support existing farmers before sourcing new farmers as pecan nuts is a very long term crop.
During July 2014 it was decided that transformation could only be effective if specific focus is also given to new farmers. Due to the low number of current black pecan nut farmers it was decided that emphasis be placed on assisting farmers that are interested in getting involved in the pecan nut industry and those farming in areas where pecan nuts are already grown and expertise is at hand.
A trial project was launched in the Groblershoop/Grootdrink area near Upington and a second project was initiated near Rustenburg.
It is important for the industry to get black farmers involved as successful participants. The cost and long period between planting and harvesting pecan nuts necessitate a long term relationship between SAPPA and the identified black farmers. It was decided to spend the bulk of the available transformation funds on soil preparation, production material/inputs, extension services and mentorship.
Pecan nuts are ideal for relative small scale farming or as part of a mixed farming operation. The pecan nut industry is currently fast growing and this allows for the involvement of developing farmers.
- Assisting interested farmers and especially smallholder farmers to establish pecan nut orchards. This assistance has to be over a period of at least 8 to 10 years.
- Help farmers with existing orchards to improve their yields and to expand.
- Getting involved with other industries in joint ventures with pecan nuts as part of a basket of farming activities.
- Groblershoop/Grootdrink/Upington – This project was started in 2014 and a number of farmers are assisted to establish pecan nut orchards or to improve the yield on their existing orchards;
- Ganspan – This is an area with smallholder farmers in the Vaalharts irrigation scheme where pecan nut orchards are being established.
- Eksteenskuil – An area near Keimoes where pecan nuts are planted to supplement existing grape farming activities.
- Pongola – Owners of existing orchards are assisted to improve their yields.
- Groblershoop High School – An orchard will be developed on 3 hectares of irrigation land owned by the school. The teachers, learners, parents and other members of the community will be involved with the project that will in future contribute to school funds as well as training and educating learners in the culture of growing pecan nuts.