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PROUD HISTORY OF NAFTALI ESTATES

NAFTALI ESTATES, which comprises the farms Naftali, Monte and Summerdown and which are now part of Rekopane Estates, has a proud history in table grape production in South Africa’s Orange River region.

Naftali Estates was started by the Bezuidenhout family, one of South Africa’s best known seedless grape growers. It is located on the banks of the mighty Orange River near Kanoneiland, west of Upington in South Africa’s Northern Cape.

Naftali is a Biblical Name meaning that “I have fought and I have concurred”. This very much represents the pioneering spirit which Peu Bezuidenhout, his family and staff has shown in the development of the farm.

The first 6 hectares of land was bought in 1979 and used to cultivate rotational crops. When it was realized that the extreme temperatures between winter and summer, the fertile soil and a steady supply of water from the Orange River represent all the ingredients for the production of high quality table grapes, Naftali embarked on a new venture.

Now, some 30 years later, the sweet and juicy grapes from this region have become the benchmark for producers elsewhere in the world. Naftali and growers in its surrounding district are now South Africa’s leading grape exporters.

Monte Estate was sold in February 2007 to further establish plantations for greater production of earlier ripening cultivars.

And this fine tradition of fighting and conquering finally led to the birth of Rekopane Estates which opens up a new chapter in fruit growing in the region.

Rekopane Estates was built by the entrepreneurship of people who shared a common goal. Training, skills transfer and management has given people new hope and opportunities.

It is demonstrated by the fact that Ms Wilmien Draaier has qualified to manage the guest house at Rekopane, and Ms Eveline Mealangwe manages the production of roses in a tunnel. The farm shop is managed by Ms Clara de Wee and Ms Angeline Prins.

Rekopane also invested in planting 8h of citrus (Star Ruby Grapefruit) in 2006 and had an exceptionally good first harvest in 2009. Rekopane will be developing a further 52h of citrus in the next coming years which will include grapefuit and seedless lemons.

The investment in people extended to social, cultural and health enrichment in the wider farm community and the local school and church have always received strong support from the Bezuidenhout family.

The entrepenieurial spirit of Peu Bezuidenhout which helped built Naftali Estates from small beginnings is always seeking out new peaks to conquer. The establishment of a highly succesful fruit growing business which has proved its sustainability during tough economic conditions has been achieved through always being the best – the best soils and cultivars, the best farming practices, the best packaging and marketing, and, finally, the best in people. The birth of Rekopane as a true ownership partnership between grower and workers which is founded in the proud example set by all those who contributed to the development of Naftali Estates.

 
     
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