Our aim of healthy relationships is most important in the case of our clients or consumers of our produce.
Our final cause, and reason for our existence are our customers. Naturally the benevolent and affirmative interactions we strive for in Natuurboerdery® apply most emphatically to them.
Bertie van Zyl was a firm believer in free and honest trade. South Africa is lucky to have had an established market system for fresh produce with ad valorem agents selling the goods on behalf of the farmers. This was and is the most rational mechanisms for price discovery in an open market. He resisted all temptations of fixed price selling to supermarkets and wholesalers, well aware of what this could lead to.
This marketing system is in harmony with Natuurboerdery®, since it serves the best interest of both buyer and seller, and prevents unproductive parasitism. Since 2005, it became more and more apparent that the (in some cases seriously deteriorating) fresh produce markets were not adequate for all trade channels. Without losing the benefits of the ad valorem agent mechanism, we founded a staging depot in Gauteng (in Lanseria), from where custom packed supermarket orders could be provided through an agent system. This was achieved through an electronic trading platform (FGX).
This was achieved through an electronic trading platform (FGX).
In 2006, our marketing was transformed from merely a sales and logistics operation to a fully-fledged marketing department, with high priority and sensitivity to customer needs.
On top of our differentiators of year-round reliable delivery of long shelf life tomatoes, ZZ2 embarked on a search for more consumer-friendly packaging, with great benefits both to trade and consumers. An ongoing effort is permanently underway to supply consumers with information on our products – not least the health benefits of compost and Natuurboerdery® grown produce.
All farmers try selling produce directly through road stalls of various sizes at the farm entrance. This is partly done to avoid agent commission, but mainly saves time, transport (and return transport from the market for local buyers).
ZZ2 operated three of these small local markets, with hardly any worth in return. In 2014, ZZ2 decided to hand these road markets over to professional market agents (RSA), and open them up to all local producers.
The results were astounding. From only one supplier (ZZ2), the suppliers grew to 395, with corresponding variety of produce on offer. Customers rose from 2000 to 12 000 in 2018, and the take home of ZZ2 rose by 45% (despite commission).
These local markets clearly demonstrate the benefit of win-win interactions over exploitative or competitive ones.