South Africa has lost another of its prominent and influential fruit industry leaders, with Jan-Linde du Toit, former chairperson of the Ceres-based Dutoit Group passing away at the age of 83.
He was chairman of the board of the Dutoit Group for 24 years, and during his career served on a number of other boards and held a number of directorships.
Du Toit was equally well known inside and outside South Africa, and led many initiatives to broaden Dutoit's its product and cultivar ranges, helping to take technical and other expertise to new levels.
He was also chairman of the Ceres Cold Stores Company, and of Sapo, the South African Plant Improvement Organisation, of which he was a founding member.
In 1987 du Toit was named South Africa’s Farmer of the Year and received the OHS Reynecke Trophy from the country’s Agricultural Research Council for services to the fruit industry. In 2011 he was named Business leader in the Western Cape along with Pieter and Gys du Toit.
In paying tribute to Du Toit, Pieter du Toit, managing director of Dutoit Group, said he was well-known as a warm personality, with positive and innovative ideas.
“He made a huge contribution to South African agriculture, the fruit industry and the Ceres community. He had an accommodating style in discussions with colleagues and fellow farmers and always encouraged them to continue to grow and develop.”
Jan-Linde du Toit started farming in 1954 and was particularly known for his own entrepreneurial endeavours in developing the estates of Lindeshof, from 1964, and later also Paardekloof and Tandfontein in the Ceres region.
Pieter du Toit described the passing as a massive loss for the family and the industry.
“He spent a life-time with the Dutoit Group and more than six decades in the fruit industry. He was one of the founders of our Du Toit family business.”
He is survived by his wife Cathrine, five sons and 16 grandchildren.