The Dry Bean Producers’ Organisation (DPO) was established at a congress on 11 August 1993 in Potchefstroom at a time when the deregulation of agriculture took place on a large scale. The DPO was the first farmers’ organisation to be established when the marketing boards were abolished.
The management and functions of the DPO
At national level the DPO is managed by a National Executive consisting of representatives of the ten dry bean producing areas in South Africa. The members of the National Executive are the chairmen of the ten Regional Management Committees in the production areas and appointed/reappointed biennially at DPO Congresses attended by delegates from the various production areas. The National Executive is assisted by various specialist committees, such as a Marketing Committee, a Research Committee and an Auditing Committee, appointed by the National Executive and to which specific expertise has been co-opted.
The following are the present members of the National Committee:
|Delmas/Nigel||Mr Albert Botha|
|Mpumalanga Central||Mr Gideon Anderson|
|Mpumalanga East||Mr Johan Grobler|
|Lowveld||Mr Cor Cross|
|Free State East||Mr Francois Bosch|
|Free State South||Mr Jan Scheepers|
|Free State Central||Mr Bok van Zyl|
|Northwest||Mr Kobus du Preez|
|Limpopo||Mr Louw Schmidt|
|Olifantsrivier||Mr Albie van Zyl|
The functions of the DPO can be summarised as follows:
- Industry-related services
- Production and market information
- Research program
- Product and market research
- Quality control
The industry-related services which the DPO renders to the dry bean producers represent the foundation upon which the DPO has been established. With due consideration of changing expectations of the producers and their increasing access to information the past couple of decades, the DPO has to continuously strive to adapt to a changing market environment and remain in touch innovatively.
The production and market information provided by the DPO remains of great value to the producer – as long as it is presented in a pro-active manner and leaves sufficient room for the producer to make his/her own decisions.
The DPO contributes financially to a dry bean research program of the Grain Crops Institute of the Agricultural Research Council at Potchefstroom. Of particular importance has been the development of a number of excellent new dry bean cultivars.
The DPO’s product and market research go hand in hand with consumer preferences and the value added to stimulate the demand for dry beans as a commercial commodity and preferred food source.
The DPO is involved in the marketing of dry beans via Beanex which plays a significant role in the present marketing of the product. It is believed that the Beanex transactions have contributed to a measure of stability in the dry bean market. The main benefit producers derive from Beanex transactions, is guaranteed payment. The buyer, on the other hand, enjoys a measure of quality assurance.
South African dry beans have, over the years, been exported with success to countries all over the world. A promising market for the local product exists particularly in Africa. The DPO participates in the activities of the International Pulse Trade & Industry Confederation (IPTIC) on behalf of the industry from time to time in order to remain in touch with international trends. The possibility of greater involvement in this international body in the interests of the dry bean industry as a whole is under consideration at present.
High quality seed is the foundation of dry bean production. The DPO has over the past 20 years managed to breed promising new dry bean cultivars in cooperation with the Grain Crops Institute of the Agricultural Research Council at Potchefstroom. Dry bean seed of these cultivars, as well as a few cultivars obtained from other sources, are produced for a seed company Dry Bean Seed (in which the DPO has a 50% share). The seed is processed at the company’s processing and packaging plant at Zeekoegat north of Pretoria. The seed produced for Dry Bean Seed is tested for certification purposes by a laboratory Plantovita in which the DPO has a shareholding. The laboratory is also situated on the same premises as the processing and packaging plant of Dry Bean Seed at Zeekoegat.