Growing up in Williston in the Northern Cape, all Theo van Rooyen wanted to be when he grew up was a sheep farmer. Then his father got a job on a fruit farm in the Koue Bokkeveld close to Ceres in the Western Cape, and his life changed forever.
The spectacular beauty of the fruit farms of the famed Witzenberg valley struck a deep cord with young Theo, but he also knew that the politics of the time prevented him from ever owning one of these farms. So instead, he started manufacturing and supplying farmers with wooden bins with which to harvest fruit. It was a good move. With his ear to the ground, Theo finally heard of a farm for sale.
There was only one small problem – he didn’t have the money. So he approached one of his commercial farmer clients to whom he had sold bins, and they struck a deal that would change the face of South African agriculture.
In exchange for access to finance, Theo’s partner now owned 48% of the operation, while Theo remained with the controlling 51% share. After all these years he finally was a farmer!
And with the expertise, mentorship and export contacts his commercial farmer partner brought, Theo has become a word class export fruit farmer. Not bad for a boytjie from Williston!