Above, from left to right: Leopont Properties shareholders Harry Thorpe, Patrick Maart, Jacobus Mietas (back), Pieter Jantjies, Piet Snyers, Piet Swarts and Jacobus Visagie in their Transvalia peach orchard.

It was all smiles at Welgemeen Farm as the shareholders of Leopont Properties, the farm’s management company, were preparing to harvest their first fruit for the current harvest. “We plan to harvest these Transvalia peaches tomorrow and we are excited for the harvest ahead,” says Jacobus Mietas, production manager and shareholder of Welgemeen.

It has been 13 years since 2005 when the beneficiaries of the Lushof, De Eike and Dennekruin Farmworkers’ Trusts purchased a 60% share in Welgemeen Farm, a 120ha top fruit and stone fruit unit near Prince Alfred Hamlet in the Ceres valley. Leopont Properties is the management company for Welgemeen Farm and the other 40% share is owned by their employers, cousins Robert and Pieter Graaff.

Many of the orchards on the farm have been renewed and expanded despite production challenges including the current drought, Leopont Properties has grown as a sustainable business. The farm now has 93ha under production and paid dividends to its shareholders.