South Africa launches standardized audits for fruit industry

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South Africa launches standardized audits for fruit industry

South African fruit producers will  soon have a simplified auditing process to standardize their industry.

South Africa's fruit industry claims it has become the first to unify international and local audit standards with one audit for all levels of production.

Fruit South Africa will launch the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) this November with the help of the Global Social Compliance Programme, an organization dedicated to harmonizing ethical requierments and creating internationally recognized audit systems.

SIZA parts from the old system in South Africa that required producers to submit for various auditing processes, creating headaches and excess costs.

Fruit South Africa Ethical Trade Programme coordinator Colleen Chennells says the new system adheres to South African law while appeasing international norms.

"[SIZA] is an industry standing together and saying this is what we stand for. It's nothing less than international requirements. It's not about competitive advantage for retailer," she says.

"This is about a sustainable program that's driven from the supply base."

SIZA seeks to ease the business process from the ground up and welcomes producers, exporters and stakeholders on all levels of the supply chain.

"We've been around the country talking to growers to buy in. We only did it because growers wanted it. They wanted to feel they had one program rather than 10," Chennells said.

"For a lot of growers, it's [about] best practices, good practices, wanting something where they can demonstrate how their farms are performing. In my mind. it's something that instead of being imposed, it's South African driven. And there is a completely different response to it."

The program will run informational sessions across South Africa to drive awareness and membership in the new system. Although driven by the fruit industry, SIZA is open to all agricultural industries.

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