Agricultural Sector


The finalists in the Agricultural Sector represent the diverse range of quality agricultural goods that KwaZulu-Natal is renowned for producing. The 2008 Top Businesses are Illovo Sugar Limited, NCT Forestry Co-operative Ltd, the Stables Wine Estate, Tongaat Hulett Limited, and Orange Grove Dairy.


These diverse operations cover forestry, sugar cane, dairy farming, and the new and exciting addition of wine farming. All of these world class companies are to be commended not only on their contribution to the economy, but also to their  role in uplifting the communities where their businesses operate. While saluting these companies on their  achievements in the sector it is important to acknowledge that there is tremendous potential for agricultural expansion in KwaZulu-Natal. It has been conservatively estimated that if the agricultural natural resources were optimally managed, the present production yield could be increased dramatically.


Illovo Sugar is a leading, global, low-cost sugar producer and a significant manufacturer of high-value downstream products. The group is Africa's biggest sugar producer and has extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six African countries. In recognition of the group's interdependence with the communities in which it operates, Illovo co-ordinates a wide range of social investment-related programmes focusing on basic needs such as the provision of water and sanitation, access to health care, education delivery and involvement in community outreach programmes.


Tongaat Hulett Limited  is an agric-processing business which includes integrated components of land management, property development and agriculture. Over the past century, Tongaat Hulett Limited  has established itself as a leading large scale agric-processing business which has its base firmly established in Southern Africa. Opportunities for expansion and growth in Africa are emerging and Tongaat Hulett Limited has the established business platform and size to capitalise on these opportunities.


Orange Grove Dairy was founded in 1927 by Cecil and Sheila Durham with 7 cows in an orange orchard in Smith Street, Dundee. Today, over 80 years later, Orange Grove manufactures and distributes over 200 products throughout KwaZulu-Natal, many of which include the high protein, mineral and energy milk from the Glynton Jersey Herd which has also grown into one of South Africa's largest pedigree Jersey Herd. Orange Grove Dairy, the KwaZulu-Natal Government and the European Union are currently working together in a "Gijima" Dairy Development and Empowerment project, aimed at building the dairy industry in the Umzinyathi District. This exciting project aims to involve the community and employees in Dairy, Maize and related farming activities.

The Stables Wine Estate has been established on an old horse stud farm just outside of Nottingham Road, among the rolling hills and the farmlands of the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal midlands.   In a very short space of time Tiny and Judy van Niekerk have achieved what many regard as impossible and have broken new ground in the wine industry. Firstly they made history in 2005 by having KwaZulu-Natal designated as a new Wine of Origin area, and then again in 2006 when they released the first ever certified KwaZulu-Natal Wine of Origin wine.



Winner NCT Forestry Co-operative Limited


NCT Forestry Co-operative Limited (NCT) is a timber marketing co-operative catering to the needs of private and independent timber growers. NCT's core area of management and operation covers the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal. Demand for NCT's service however has resulted in its sphere of influence extending to parts of the Western and Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo as well as Swaziland. It is recognised as an international supplier of quality round wood timber, hardwood pulp chips and the largest forestry marketing organisation in southern Africa.


As a co-operative its Members share in profits and own NCT. Membership stands at over 2000, representing a total area of approximately 300 000ha (21%) of afforested land in South Africa. NCT's process to accelerate empowerment among its black members began in the 1980s with a major focus in the 1990s. Total Black membership stands at 579 (28% of NCT's total membership) of which women members make up 40%. A new category of designated groups has also emerged: 23 community trusts, made up of over 2000 beneficiaries, have received forestry land through the land reform process. The community trusts have opted to become members of NCT and have a total forestry land holding of some 9000 ha in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

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