The transformation and development services programme is aimed at building capacity through the development of internal and external skills. The programme is divided into 4 sub-programmes namely; Internships, Agricultural Export Technologist Programme (AETP), Harmonization and Small Holder Development.

Internships and Learnerships

The PPECB has in the past 8 years offered a learnership at NQF level 5, exposing learners to the postharvest agricultural value chain and provide them with a head-start in advancing themselves professionally in this sector. It is the PPECB‘s aim to continue with this initiative and take this to a higher level by partnering with institutions like CPUT which will assist in enhancing the qualification students obtain at the PPECB. The leanership programme is provided in partnership with the DAFF and the Agri-Seta.

In collaboration with Agri-Seta, the PPECB is further providing on the job exposure in fields like Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Finance, Human Resources and Marketing. All students who have participated in the ICT internship programme have since been employed permanently by the PPECB.

Internal Capacity Building

The PPECB puts a lot of emphasis in the area of capacity building. It provides development opportunities for both internal and external stakeholders. With regards to internal stakeholders the focus is on women and youth empowerment. Leadership Development initiatives are being put in place to ensure that women are accelerated so that they can assume leadership roles as these are currently predominantly occupied by their male counterparts. The PPECB is striving to be a learning institution and is leveraging technology to ensure that training provided meets the needs of the Gen Y and X .This has resulted in the introduction of a Learning Management System with on-line on-boarding. There is also a huge focus on coaching and mentoring to ensure that the youth entering the work place are empowered to be able to provide customer service with confidence.

Over and above the training, coaching and mentoring that we provide for our internal stakeholders, we also have a dedicated programme for ensuring uniform interpretation and consistent application of standards during execution of product inspection, cold chain functions and food safety audits. The harmonization programme aims at mitigating the risks of incorrect decision making during inspections and cold chain functions, enhances confidence levels of employees and associated clients during service delivery.

Small Holder Development

The Development unit’s services aim to expose smallholder farmers to food safety, good agricultural practices, responsible use of pesticides, cold chain management and product quality training in preparation for food safety certification and market access.

Development initiatives are run on a collaborative basis with the DAFF, the Department of Agriculture Western Cape, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) and service all provinces in South Africa. Collaboration not only extends to sister State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) but also to commercial development partners like Citrus Research International (CRI) as well as Further Education and Training Colleges like Fort Cox agricultural college in the Eastern Cape.

Since the PPECB exited the certification of private standards arena, it is free to train farmers – especially smallholder farmers – in matters pertaining to such private standards as well as in its mandated R707 (SAGAP). With there being no possible conflict of interest as the facilitators will not be the auditors, the PPECB Development unit’s personnel are free to explore the opportunities of training smallholder farmers in matters such as private standards (e.g. Tesco Nurture’s Choice, LEAF, BRC, HACCP and Global G.A.P.); as well as the mandated SAGAP.

The PPECB employees have enviable expertise in quality standards, food safety and cold chain management in particular, and it plays to its strength as an organisation in imparting that knowledge. The PPECB‘s mandate and resources are limited when it comes to providing a stand-alone training function, so it is imperative that the organisation performs this important function in a collaborative fashion.