Tesco has helped 20 unemployed young people in South Africa to complete a diploma in fruit production as part of its responsible sourcing strategy.
The retailer partnered with NGO - The Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA) - to develop a 10-month training programme to gain a qualification in agriculture sales and marketing.
The project is funded by Tesco (through its Africa Community Fund) and the Department for International Development. Tesco staff also shared fruit-growing expertise through workshops and industry events, while two of its South African topfruit suppliers – Fruitways and Trucape – joined the scheme as workplace partners.
Writing in a blog, Tesco responsible sourcing manager for Africa, Tania Moodley said: “Agriculture is becoming devoid of young enthusiastic professionals in South Africa. Farming is no longer considered an attractive employment option. Suppliers are concerned for the future security of the industry. Tesco wanted to change these perceptions and support our farming communities."
The scheme recruited students from the key topfruit growing area of Grabouw in South Africa. “It's a community in extreme poverty with 40 per cent of adults unemployed and 11 per cent of people have no form of income,” wrote Moodley.
“I want to congratulate the students and wish them well. Their graduation means they'll enter the South African fruit sector as a new generation of young professionals. All 20 graduates are currently going through interviews to secure employment,” she added.