Dutoit Agri has been in the business of farming for over 130 years. We’re committed to this country and try to leave a positive legacy in everything we do. We harvest tons of fruit and vegetables each year, and also export our produce. We feel very strongly about making a strong economic impact in South Africa and fostering robust food security as well. Our business is more like a family.
Our packhouses are primarily in Ceres, but we have an Eastern Cape operation as well. Our fruit business is called ‘Dutoit Vrugte’, our vegetable business is ‘Dutoit Groente’ and our Eastern Cape outlet is ‘Dutoit Eastern Cape’. Find out more about these below.
About 110 000 tons of fruit each year! If one bakkie can take one ton of fruit, that equals a line of bakkies from Ceres to Bloemfontein! Or an interlinked ‘super-truck’ stretching for almost 120km.
A high-speed camera takes up to 80 images per fruit! The computer grades the fruit according to size, colour distribution and cosmetic defects. We plan to invest in a future when infrared technology can identify internal defects.
For every fruit nature gifts us with, there’s an application, no waste. Top quality fruits are for exporting and high-end local supermarkets. We also reserve and supply municipal markets and smaller retailers.
We have a strict monitoring process from start to finish. Size, colour, and shape are core criteria. All our fruit is sorted to meet global industry standards that ensures a safe and quality product for all our customers.
We’ve already invested in solar generation technology. We’re hoping to become more self-sufficient and be less reliant on external energy in future. Load shedding has encouraged our business to become self-reliant.
The cycle in our business is long with trees that can take 3 – 5 years to reach full maturity. Our management team are constantly predicting what to grow and when, according to market trends and needs.
Dutoit Vrugte is a landmark in the Ceres Valley. In fact, it is listed as a place of interest on Google Maps and therefore used frequently by Takealot clients for deliveries. The site has been in operation for almost five decades and comprises of three active packhouses, cold storage facilities and various support operations. We specialise in storage and packing of pome fruit (apples & pears), stone fruit (peaches, nectarines & plums) and cherries.
You can keep an apple in cold storage for up to 9 months. This means we have apples available almost all year round! Apples and pears are kept in specially controlled conditions. The temperature varies from -0.5 °C to 1.5°C. Oxygen is replaced with nitrogen and the apples become dormant, with their natural ripening processes suspended. We raise the temperature to ‘wake the apples’ up, fresh and ready to eat! A cold room takes about 1000 bins each, with about 360 kg of fruit per bin. It is basically a huge fridge! Green, yellow, and red apples need unique storage regimes, with different temperatures for each fruit variety. Same goes for pears.
Dutoit Groente is our vegetable side, incorporating six farms and specialising in onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes. We produce: 50 000 tons of onions, 20 000 tons of potatoes, 8 000 tons of sweet potatoes, shallots, pumpkins and fresh garlic. We adhere to the same strict quality control regimes, making use of state-of-the-art technology to pack and store onions. Sustainability is a core consideration!
– Africa’s only Elisam onion optical sorting & packing line: This is the top of the market line, moving 30-35 tons of onions an hour, which equals 600 to 700 crates per day!
– Automatic onion cutters that top and tail our onions to be market ready.
– A sucking system to suck up and compress all the loose onion leaves that cover the packing house floor. Like a giant vacuum cleaner…
– Air-blown onion peeling capabilities: A nozzle blasts air at the onion to remove the skin, producing a beautiful, peeled product.
We store about 60% of our onions at 1 degree for up to 9 months. Onions are dried for three days after they come out of cold storage.
We developed our own onion varieties and plant up to 25 different red and brown varieties.
35% of our onions are being exported. Out of season, we import onions to still the supply the local programs we are committed to.
Onions are 90% water and 10% sulphuric acids. New team members stop reacting to the onions after about 3 days.
We have a small, niche line of shallots. We handle these babies… like babies, with everything done by human hands. We’re the only shallot producer in the country.
Sweet potatoes have very loose skin so they’re notoriously difficult to harvest without damaging. We couldn’t find a harvester up to the task. So, we designed and built one ourselves.
Comprises of primary agriculture, cold storage and packing facilities in the Langkloof, Eastern Cape.
Dutoit Agri has 11 farms in the Langkloof.
42 000 tons of apples, pears and plums across 850 hectares of land. Apples account for 35 000 tons. We also have a small line (10 hectares) of blueberries.
Three packhouses that are the same as our other operations, to ensure the same standard of fruit. We have our own lab for quality control and ripeness testing.
24-hour shifts, with day and night teams during season. When the season is over, our night shift team assist with blueberry picking to extend their income.
About 300 tons per fruit per day in peak season.
Our plums in 24 hours! Like our other stone fruit, they need to be picked, sorted, packed, shipped and on shelves in a week.
With a new line of nectarines…Keep an eye out for these soon.
The foundation of excellent stone fruit varieties is their good genetics! Dutoit has access to the right breeding programmes and obtained the breeding rights to focus on better production, colour, fruit presentation and shelf-life. A new range of exotic tasting nectarine varieties have been added to Dutoit’s offering.