The South African fruit sector needs to go green writes Engela Duvenage in SAFJ. The Western Cape government wants to cut its dependence on Eskom power by 10 percent by 2019 and the local fruit industry is a crucial partner in meeting this target. This is the message from Dr Ilse Trautmann, chief director: research and technology development services of the Western Cape Agriculture department.

Dr Hildegard Fast, who heads the province’s Energy Security Game Changer unit, says that for the fruit industry it makes sense to target the day-to-day running of packhouses and cellars. These are among the highest energy users in the local agricultural sector. “If a particular farmer is interested in finding out more about a particular green option, they can go to GreenCape for free support and advice,” says Trautmann. She foresees that in the not-too-distant future, produce will be specifically labelled according to how energy-efficient and emission-sensitive they were produced.

Reducing energy consumption is one way of many by which an agribusiness can reduce its carbon footprint – a huge consideration seeing that a local carbon tax is on the cards too.