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MC Uys – Pure Legacy

South African Red Globe finds appetite among India’s top consumers

Certain white grape varieties from South Africa are now coming under pricing pressure, remarks MC Uys of Pure Legacy, but in general prices are around 15% up from last year and the start of the red and black season is positive.

Pure Legacy has a focus on Third World countries, but has to reckon with the proximity of India, whose grape volumes increase yearly and this year has a more difficult route to Europe. Are they therefore experiencing increased competition in Asia?

“India is always a factor in their surrounding countries, and their prices are lower than South African grapes. Therefore, we send nothing to Bangladesh, but we do send grapes to Sri Lanka and we actually send grapes to India this time of the year, specifically premium class Red Globe.”

He remarks that while India does grow Red Globe, it is not of the quality of South African Red Globe, which is aimed at the country’s top tier consumers and expats.

“We’re also sending premium black plums to India, a bit of red plums, and by airfreight peaches and nectarines. Then we’ve also started with the pears.”

Indonesia is served with grapes and pears and, to a lesser degree, citrus.

“Vietnam is another major focus for us, mainly airfreight grapes,” he says, adding that South African apples will be sought-after in Vietnam when the new apple export campaign gets underway.

Their exports to Europe make up a fraction of their trade, compared to the East, and they do not trade within Africa (except to buy coffee beans to roast for their Stellenbosch coffee shop Legado).

Avoiding current uncertainty around Cape Town Port
“Last week we loaded around 80% of our fruit from Gqeberha and Durban,” he says – but he points out that their focus lies primarily in the East.

“Transport costs to Durban are really high but at least you don’t have the uncertainty that fruit will stand around.”

From Cape Town they make use of conventional vessels operating out of the private terminal FPT, but the delays at Cape Town make itself felt everywhere. Grape cold stores are full, but fortunately they have not had to tell grape producers to stop packing.

He notes the industry knows that packing grapes in the high wind summer season is always expected to be difficult – the question is just: how difficult?

“It’s currently more difficult than last year, but 2022 was worse – but the year is still young… We’re still fairly flexible, we still have solutions up our sleeve.”

In business for seven years, Pure Legacy’s team is young (average age: 33 years).

“The advantage of youth is that we’re energetic, dynamic and adept at innovative problem-solving," Uys observes. "There has been a strong cohort of young people entering the job market, people with a strong work ethic.”

Pure Legacy does not itself produce fruit. “Not having fixed guaranteed volumes every season means you have to do the right things with the fruit entrusted to you. You can’t sit around, wait for opportunity to come your way. You’ve got to keep at it all the time.”

Diversification is the name of their game
Their eggs are spread over a couple of baskets, besides the already-mentioned coffee shop and roastery: their filial company Orion Agri Solutions imports from China mesh bags, plastic ground cover, nets for protection against hail, birds and insects, and even oyster farming bags.

An export bale of alfalfa (lucerne), grown in the Northern Cape for the Saudi dairy industry

Landscapers in Saudi Arabia buy hardy Southern African thorn trees through Pure Legacy, while Northern Cape lucerne (alfalfa) has over the past few years been exported to the Arab world in greater quantities.

“We’re sending a fair bit of lucerne for the dairy industry in Saudi Arabia. There’s somewhat of an oversupply this season. Last year the trade was very favourable and there are still opportunities when you have good relationships with clients.”

Embedded in their community
He emphasises relationship-building as a key to how Pure Legacy does business, not only reaching outwards to clients, but inwards to their local community as well. Apart from aiding food relief schemes, the Pure Legacy Foundation tutors mathematics at school level and supports institutions like the Boland School for Autism.

“Ten percent of our revenue after tax goes to various organisations in our surrounding community. Pure Legacy strongly believes in giving back to the community and inspiring positive change. We believe in leaving a legacy we can be proud of. Our name reflects the way we do business.”

For more information:
MC Uys
Pure Legacy
Tel: +27 76 906 8197
Email: [email protected]