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SA’s Farmer of the Year for 2014

Roussouw Cilliè of Laastedrif Boerdery, Ceres who won the prestigious award of South Africa’s 2014 FARMER of the Year, follows in the footsteps of previous winners like Mr. Freddy Schmidt, Dohne Merino National Top Breeder for 2013.
Rossouw Cilliè is not only an outstanding farmer, but also a excellent businessman and entrepreneur.
He matriculated in Ceres in 1982 and after acquiring a National Agricultural Diploma from Elsenburg, he returned to Ceres in 1986. At the age of 27 he was elected to the position of (executive) director of the Ceres Fruit Growers. He completed a managerial course at the University of Stellenbosch to make himself a more complete leader.
He currently serves on KORKOM (Ceres: Regional Onion and Potato Co-ordinating Committee), firstly as a member of management and later as chairman. He serves as executive director of Tru-Cape as well as councillor of the company. He currently serves on the management of several organisations both within and out of agriculture. At the same time he runs a large scale vegetable enterprise and is also regarded as an authority in the field of onion marketing .
In 1988 Rossouw Cillie joined his father and brother in starting a relatively small farming business which included 500 Merino sheep. In time it was expanded to a mega format of 6 production units on 17 000ha. The 850ha under irrigation consists of:
Onions 113ha
Carrots 174ha
Beet 80ha
Brassica’s 60ha
Rankling crops 60ha
Swiss Chard 17ha

Apples 141ha
Pears 24ha
Apricots 4ha
Peaches 12.5ha
Plums 52ha

In 2009 Laastedrif was converted into a company with four directors built on their expertise.
The undertaking’s focus is on value adding with fruit being mainly exported. Laastedrif also packages their vegetables at three plants for Woolworths, Freshmark (Shoprite/Checkers), Wildeklawer as well as other selected clients. Mechanisation is applied to improve effectiveness and to reduced the pinch of costs.
The undertaking which is accredited in terms of GlobalGAP, the BRC Global Food Safety Standard, LEAF Marque and TESCO Nurture , is naturally focused on extremely high quality standards.
The Laastedrif Dohne Merino Stud and flock is an undeniable branch. The stud consists of 260 ewes and the commercial flock approximately 3000 ewes. The growth plan is to increase the commercial flock to 5000 over the next 5 years and at the same time to farm more intensively with the help of pastures.
Dohne Merino SA is indeed privileged to be associated with the Smallstock branch of this large scale undertaking.