It is the Unlimited Group’s philosophy to always strive to do more than just make a profit. We want to positively contribute to make the world a better place and at all times be a good corporate citizen. Ryton is a great example of the impact agri-empowerment projects can have in South Africa.
The Unlimited Group actively supports Black Economic Empowerment in agriculture. Through our joint venture company, Vutsela Iglobhu Investment, we are involved in extensive enterprise development, mentoring and skills transfer at our joint venture farm, Ryton Estates. We believe this is a prime example of what can be achieved through sound co-operation and upcoming agri-entrepreneurs.
Our CEO, Riël Malan, reflects on the story behind Ryton:
‘In October 2008, Ryton Estates, a 250-hectare citrus and avocado farm recently acquired by the Department Rural Development (DRD) and Land Reform, was on the verge of becoming another agri-BEE statistic. The farm’s electricity was about to be cut off, fertiliser and sprays were not applied and only a skeleton staff was employed. Vutsela Investments, a group of black agri-entrepreneurs came to the rescue and acquired a long-term lease from the DRD for Ryton. It was at this time that Vutsela Investments entered into a joint venture with The Unlimited Group.
Management of the farm was transferred to the newly established joint venture in the October of 2008, and a recovery plan was immediately implemented to turn the operations around. The workforce was re-appointed and today Ryton Estates currently employs 100 people permanently and an additional 400 seasonal workers during harvest.
In a landscape littered by unsuccessful agri-empowerment projects, the Vutsela-Unlimited Group joint venture serves as a model of what can be achieved if a structured approach to land reform and agri-BEE empowerment is taken. It also serves as an example of how timeous and decisive partnering between the DRD and commercial BEE partners can ensure transfer of farms without jeopardising farm infrastructure and food security. ’