Joint venture packhouse with Allesbeste Group provides new platform for growth in avocados, lychees and mangoes

Dole has secured its own packing facility for avocados, lychees and mangoes in the north of South Africa.

Letaba Pakkers, a joint venture partnership between Dole South Africa producer-exporter Allesbeste Group, will supply fruit mainly into Europe via Netherlands-based Dole Exotics and sell it under the BE Exotic brand.

Dole said the move underlined its intention to expand in the global market for avocados and other tropical fruits by investing in vertically integrated supply chain operations.

Previously known as Afrupro Packers, the joint-owned packhouse is situated in Tzaneen, part of Limpopo province. It is understood each company owns “close to 50 per cent”.

“We are excited to now have access to our own facility that will expand the opportunity to pack and market our own avocados and lychees from South Africa,” says Hannes Nieuwoudt, managing director of Dole South Africa.

Allesbeste Group director Edrean Ernst said his company looked forward to working with a “strong partner” like Dole.

“Letaba Pakkers is strategically important for the area in terms of providing a high quality, independent fruit packing service at a competitive cost to the grower, regardless of whom the growers choose to market their product with,” he commented.

Nieuwoudt continued: “The combined volume throughput of Dole and Allesbeste in this packhouse, as well as the collective professional management skills of both companies, will create economies of scale and efficiencies that will benefit growers in terms of packing costs while delivering optimised operational capacities that meet the most exacting international quality standards.”

He added: “By delivering a professional, cost effective packhouse solution, we will increase our marketing opportunities and add value to our existing business.”

Donovan Lewis, marketing manager at Allesbeste, said the ability to pack and send avocados within protocol remained “the most difficult task” a packhouse can undertake.

“This is something we intend to continue to take very seriously at Letaba Pakkers, therefore giving each producer packing at our facility the best chance to deliver quality fruit to markets anywhere in the world.”

A newly appointed general manager will report to a board of directors that consists of three Dole and three Allesbeste representatives.