Ceres Fruit Growers owns half of Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing which sells fruit from Ceres and Two-a-Day in Grabouw. Pieter Graaff -the 2018 National Farmer of the Year- is Tru-Cape’s chairman. In awarding the Farmer of the Year title and also the valued OSH Reinecke Award for innovation in Agriculture, Graaff was recognised for leading the industry in terms of forward thinking and best agricultural practice.
Witzenberg Properties, Graaff’s agricultural business, embarked on investigating alternative energy for use on its farms from early 2019. After doing a thorough analysis of its requirements, and the options available for alternative energy, Witzenberg Properties decided to install a ground mount Photo Voltaic Solar Plant for supply of electricity to two of its farming units, Die Eike and Dennekruin producing apples and pears.
In considering solar as an alternative source of energy, Witzenberg Properties not only reduces its carbon footprint but also tries to stabilise its supply of electricity to its primary production areas where irrigation of orchards in the summer months is critical.
With the cost of electricity escalating and the technological gains made over the past few years, solar energy has become much more affordable. Introducing solar enables Witzenberg Properties to reduce it primary production cost, of which electricity is currently the forth largest expense.