Our roots date back to the Spring of 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck planted the first apple seeds in the Cape of Good Hope. On April 17, 1662, the first two ripe apples were picked. Gradually small farmers started to experiment with other top fruit crops and sold their produce to passing ships.
The South African fruit export industry was “founded” by Percy Molteno in 1892 when he successfully exported a small consignment of peaches to the United Kingdom, which was sold at Covent Garden Market. Hereafter, the fruit export market blossomed and by 1903 more than 22 000 fruit packages were being exported.
After years of exporting individually, the deciduous fruit producers realised they needed a governing body to offer support and the Deciduous Fruit Exchange (1926) was established. This was later adapted to the Deciduous Fruit Board (1939), Universal Fruit Trade Co-operative (1987), Unifruco (1989), Deciduous Fruit Producers’ Trust (1997) and ultimately HORTGRO (2013).
At HORTGRO we focus on production, research and technology, communication, markets, and transformation within the deciduous fruit industry. Download a timeline of our history here:
Hortgro is the South African deciduous fruit industry’s knowledge partner. Our goal is to keep our growers informed, grow and transform the industry, and to make sure that South African fruit is of great quality and produced in the right way.
At the same time, we care about where our food comes from and how it is produced. We care about the people in our industry and we care about the environment in which our fruit is being produced. We set high standards for ourselves in what we do. We encourage our growers to do the same and abide by independent certification from ethical standards organisations.