Anhalt farm adjoins the town of Haarlem and lies between the town and the Haarlem Dam. The farm has 75ha of orchards, mostly apples with some pears. Anhalt was bought from its original owners in 1963 by the government to secure a water supply for the town and to provide job opportunities for the local people. From the 1960’s the farm was under government management and by the early 1990’s, it had been neglected and was not profitable.
In 1993 Casidra took over management of the farm. (Casidra is an acronym for Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas. Casidra is an implementing and management agency of the sole shareholder, the Provincial Government of the Western Cape). The farm is currently in trust with the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform and the Department is in the process of handing over the ownership of Anhalt Farm to the Haarlem Community Property Association. This is expected to be complete later this year.
Nico du Preez is the General Manager at Anhalt Farm. “I am responsible for the total management of the farm,” says Nico. “We have a quarterly meeting with Casidra. I prepare and present them with reports on the farm’s progress and they assist us with decision making. The farm pays Casidra a management fee. We receive extension assistance from Topfruit production consultant Chris Juries who visits Anhalt monthly. Our crop protection specialist Dawid Meyer from Nulandis visits us weekly. We work in close co-operation with the other Jobs Fund recipients in our area and also attend the regular farmers’ association and irrigation board meetings. We have not received any implements but we recently bought 2 new tractors and a truck and 2 chemical sprayer carts from our own funds.”
The Jobs Fund is providing Anhalt with a total of 14.2 ha of new orchards and these new orchards will really help with future productions. “In 2010 our farm storage dam broke and we were not able to water our young orchards,” explains Nico. “Many of the trees died and we needed to re-establish these orchards. In 2017 we received and planted 6ha of young pear trees from the Jobs Fund and this year (2018) we are receiving a further 6.5ha of both apples and pears. We are hoping that we will receive a bigger allocation of the Big Bucks apple variety.”
“The Jobs Fund has made it possible for us to expand and keep our employees as well. If we had not received this assistance and fund the process form our own funds, we would probably have to retrench some people,” says Nico. Anhalt Farm has 27 permanent employees and during their harvest season they employ a further 70 seasonal workers. Most of the permanent employees live in Haarlem and many of them have worked on the farm for more than 20 years. Stanley Sitshinga is the supervisor at Anhalt Farm and he lives on the farm.
Anhalt uses the Anhalt Packhouse situated on the R62 about 8km from the farm to pack their fruit. The building belongs to the Department of Public Works but we make use of the facilities and are responsible for the upkeep of the packhouse. Our fruit is marketed by Core Fruit Exports.
Anhalt Farm regularly reports to the Haarlem Community Property Association and the community and farm management are excited about the forthcoming handover of this beautiful and historic farm to the people of Haarlem. In addition, Anhalt Farm is currently in the process of trying to acquire an additional 40ha of fallow ground on an adjoining piece of property adjacent to Haarlem town. If they are successful, they will be able to expand considerably. Anhalt Farm borders on the Haarlem Dam so they have very good water security and will have access to additional water for expansion.
Nico’s family is one of Haarlem’s original community families and he is actively involved in community activities. “I am one of 8 brothers and we all grew up in Haarlem so Haarlem is truly home to us. I started on the farm as a general worker. Through the opportunities offered to us through Casidra, I attended many training courses over the years. I also completed a Fruit Production course offered over eight months at the Stellenbosch Hotel by a group of fruit production experts in the fruit industry. I have been working on the management of Anhalt since 2002 and have been the manager since 2015.”
“We are very grateful to the Jobs Fund for their assistance. Hey are taking the time end effort to train management and employees and this will be of great help going forward.”