Afrupro Exporters consist of 22 farmers of which 5 (with 9 farms) have been nominated to supply the Waitrose program and are thus part of the Waitrose Foundation. On these farms a total of approximately 350 workers are actively involved in growing and handling of avocados as well as macadamia nuts. A macadamia and an avocado nursery are also operated on two of the farms.
A Central Afrupro Workers Committee (CAWC) with representatives from each of the Waitrose approved farms has been formed. The CAWC together with the Afrupro Exporters management team are responsible for identifying the needs on the different farms and to motivate specific Waitrose Foundation projects. Members of the CAWC are: Calvin Kgatle, Bram Snijder, Simon Mokgolane, Hellen Eland, Joel Ramalepe, Wiedse Kruger, Tryphina Shimange and Mack Maluleke.
Training needs on various different disciplines were identified as a high priority. Training always strengthens one as human being while no one can take that away from you. The following discipline training courses have been presented.
1. Basic health and personal hygiene training
During this course a total of 480 farm workers were introduced to all subjects related to basic health aspects, personal hygiene and hygiene in the work place and at home. With aspects, related to sexually transmitted diseases, TB as well as HIV/Aids was also discussed in detail. Finally during this one day course basic safety aspects in the workplace were discussed. Feedback from the workers was very positive and even farm owners have commented that more awareness with regard to certain hygiene aspects was experienced.
2. Supervisor training
An important aspect of good management is well trained supervisors. During this three day course 48 farm workers with supervisory characteristics and potential were identified and received training on the basic aspects of supervision. The main theme was motivation and how a supervisor should create the right work environment for good performance by the subordinates. This course was very much an eye opener for most people and the need for more training on these types of aspects were highlighted during the wrap-up of the course.
3. Worker committee training
Worker committees are the backbone of good communication between management and workers, especially in large farm setups. Worker committees were generally the lacking aspect on most of the farms. Newly elected worker committees on all the farms were put through a 3 day course outlining the duties and responsibilities of worker committees and how they can be successful in negotiating skills between workers and management. This was for most workers a first in their work situation and it has already lead to interesting developments following workers committee meetings on the different farms. Follow-up training in this respect is needed and will be done again during the off season.
~ Article written by Bram Snijder ~