Tiger Brands' move to close WC canning factories will have huge impact - CFPA

Jacques Johannes, CEO of the Canning Fruit Producers Association, commented on the impact of Tiger Brands' decision to close two canning factories in the Western Cape.

On 9 June 2022, South Africa's largest food company, Tiger Brands, shocked the food industry when it announced plans to close two factories, located in Langeberg and Ashton, which spell economic disaster.

Speaking to CapeTalk's Refilwe Moloto, Jacques Johannes, CEO of the Canning Fruit Producers Association, highlighted the reasoning behind Tiger Brands' decision.

Tiger Brands basically decided two years ago that the business is not aligned with their strategy and they wanted to divest from the canning fruit business in Ashton. [...] We're still open with discussions with Tiger. At this stage, we need some people to take our hand and help invest in this business to prevent it from closure. I think the effect is a social-economic disaster, it's not just a cold business decision.

Jacques Johannes - CEO of the Canning Fruit Producers Association

Johannes clarified that the impact of the closures would spread beyond just those employed at the factories themselves, but would certainly have fallout on the surrounding community.

The surrounding farms that have supplied the facility with fresh produce for the last few decades would be left with no avenue of sale, resulting in the those farms also succumbing to economic pressures.

We need to save these communities. The original factory was established by the producers in the 1940s all from the town of Ashton and the surrounding areas. In 2011, Tiger Brands bought these co-ops and after that, consolidated the factory into one. [...] The extent of this business has grown over the 70 years that you need someone there to help. And from the producers' side, that's where they said government needs to intervene. There's 2,250 permanent farmworkers, 300 farmers at risk. I think the ripple effect in the value chain is much bigger.

Jacques Johannes, CEO of the Canning Fruit Producers Association

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Related: COSATU unhappy with Tiger Brands decision to close Ashton canning business

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