The Japie Groenewald Trust
Founder of packer-exporter Betko Fresh Produce
Japie Groenewald was one of the South African pome fruit industry’s most colourful and ambitious characters.
Japie Groenewald grew up on a smallholding below the Riviersonderend Mountains in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. It is also here that he later founded the family farm and flagship of the Betko farming units, Oubos. The farm was previously home to 18 families, who made a living from indigenous timber and vegetable farming. Upon completion of the development of Oubos, it became a 120-hectare model farming unit, with utmost care for the environment being paramount. This can be seen by the presence of one of the largest indigenous forests in the Western Cape.
During the single channel regulated era, Japie started his own local fruit distribution business and was one of the driving forces behind deregulation. Since the initial opportunities of deregulation, Betko has grown from strength to strength and is run by Japie’s sons – Roux, Japie Jr. and Jacobus.
The modern storage and packing facilities, in Villiersdorp, can process in excess of 50,000 tonnes of fruit per year. This facility also adheres to the strictest global food safety standards and is the legacy of a visionary with a passion for fruit packing and marketing.
After the successful development of Oubos, two additional units of 240 and 250 hectares was acquired in Soetmelksvlei and Sunnyside. These three units provide some of the finest fruit in the region, as well as a large portion of all fruit handled by Betko Fresh Produce.
Three leading farms – Oubos, Soetmelksvlei and Sunnyside - located along the Sonderend Rivier (“River without End”) in the Western Cape form the core of Betko’s apple and pear production.
Betko supplies markets worldwide with a wide range of pome fruit. Pears include the ever-popular varieties Packham’s Triumph, William’s Bon Chretien, Abate Fetel and Forelle. Golden Delicious, Royal Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady and Top Red are some of the apple varieties.
Betko’s marketing division has a global footprint in the traditional markets of the United Kingdom and Western Europe, as well as emerging African and Asian markets. We supply some of the world’s most well-known supermarkets and have strong internally generated brands.