Fourth Group of Western Cape Cheese Makers Travel to France

24 April 2008

Statement by Kobus Dowry, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture

I am extremely proud of the development that has taken place since the inception of the Thuthukile Skweyiya Western Cape Burgundy Wine Exchange Programme in honour of Ms Thuthukile Skweyiya, the former SA Ambassador to France. She was instrumental in the initiation of an exchange programme, in 2001, to provide vocational training and social upliftment to wine farm workers with no formal qualification.

The project was developed in collaboration with the Centre de Formation Professionelle et de Promotion Agricole (CFPPA) Beaune and the Conseil Regional Bourgogne (Burgundy Regional Council).

The project benefits primarily from the financial support of the Western Cape Government on the South African side and of the Burgundy Regional Council and French Department of Foreign Affairs on the French side.

During November 2004, I led a top-level delegation to France in an effort to strengthen the existing cooperative relations between Burgundy and the Western Cape. This regional co-operation takes place against the background of the strong bilateral relations between France and South Africa. The Western Cape is benefiting from cooperation with this region especially in the area of training, transfer of skills, quality standards in agriculture, quality food products and adding value to basic agricultural products.

Not only is Burgundy the most important wine region in France and one of the most important in the world, especially with reference to quality wines, it is also renowned for its quality cheese production.

It was agreed during discussions with various institutions in Burgundy that in terms of the current Co-operation agreement between Burgundy and the Western Cape that the very successful program for training of farm workers in the wine industry in Beaune, Burgundy will be continued.

It was also agreed that a new training program for young cheese makers from the Western Cape will start in 2005 in Burgundy - this would create new opportunities for young professionals, in particular those from previously disadvantaged communities.

During 2006 I have visited the students while they were attending the course in France and I was very impressed with the standard of training. I have requested the development of a course to make provision for a joint diploma between the Cape Institute for Agricultural Training and Centre de Formation Professionelle et de Promotion Agricole (CFPPA )

Mr. Kobus Mulder, from Agri Expo will once again accompany the fourth group, as Agri Expo is responsible for the practical arrangements with regard to the training.

They will undergo a practical and theoretical training in the production of typical French type cheese at two factories. This will be followed by a marketing module, which will focus on the commercial aspects of the cheese industry. They will also be exposed to the innovative uses of cheese.

The four that were nominated tonight were chosen after a selection process that took place under the auspices of Agri Expo. The four candidates, who will benefit from the exchange programme, are:

1. Willem Bosman, Mooivallei KaasBonnievale
2. Dollencia Willemse, Kasselshoop Kaas Stilbaai
3. Barenise Croy, Jersey Fresh Malmesbury
4. Chaneë Truter, Imhoff Cheese Noordhoek

On their return they will do a presentation to their respective companies and their progress will be monitored on a continued bases. It is envisaged that they will act as mentors for future cheese makers from previous disadvantaged communities.

We want to wish them well and trust that they will return as successful writers of yet another chapter in the history of IKAPA ELIHLUMAYO.

Media Enquiries: 

Issued by:
Alie van Jaarsveld
Ministry of Agriculture: Western Cape
Tel: 021 483 4930
Fax: 021 483 3890
Cell: 084 604 6701

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