Texel is an island in the North Sea off Holland known for its beauty and fertile lands. Third generation apple and pear grower, Pieter Reuvers decided to change the name of his Highlands, Grabouw farm from Breevlei to Texel in honour of his grandfather’s birthplace. Roots and family life are important to Pieter and he points out the map of the original Texel on the wall above his desk.
Pieter is in partnership with his wife Petronell and sons Pierre, also on the farm, and Nicholas currently on a post-university gap year but then expected to join the business.
Under Pieter, deputy chairman at Two-a-Day and a member of Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing’s board of directors, Texel has flourished and expanded to neighbouring farms too with his family and staff team’s support.
For this thoughtful and prayerful man, inheriting an entire staff from a neighbouring farm as part of the asset acquisition was an opportunity he relished. “Many of the people were at risk, as we say today, and nearly incapacitated by the effects of alcohol and drug use,” he says. Although agriculture is one of the last industries that is able to absorb people without formal education, Pieter is committed to helping people get better educated and grow their lives.
“The only solution is to work with people and develop their potential”, he says. “People are hungry for recognition and respond well to a fatherly approach. It is not that we are lenient, we aren’t, but we do believe that if people can learn from their mistakes they will do better at the very next opportunity,” he says.
The whole team starts the day with a short bible reading and singing of a hymn. “I have absolutely no doubt that when people are able to accept the love from a parent figure or our ultimate parent, Father God, that they are able to find the resources to make better choices.
“When I heard about the difficulties that Ida Jacobs had with alcohol with her son Jandré and his Mandrax and Dagga addiction, I told her I would pray for her and her family. Later, she told me that she’d accepted The Lord as her Saviour and was better able to focus on her work role as a supervisor on the farm. With fortitude and support from people like the social worker at Two-a-Day, Carmenita Philander, she managed to get her own life back on track and also help Jandré accept guidance from his highest power.”
Pieter comments that his experience of Jeandré after giving him an opportunity to prove himself is that of a changed man. “As an addict he was sent away from school, on the police watch list and in the gaze of social services. As I got to know Jandré he also said he believed himself to be dumb. He had absolutely no self esteem and I knew that once he realised he could be good at something he could develop his belief in himself too. “I believe that part of loving God is also loving yourself as we are made in His image. I have no doubts as I have seen how His hand works through my own life and the people around me. The reason God shared broken people with us is to show His might. It has got nothing to do with me,” he says.
Today, Jeandré works on the irrigation team, an essentially important role because of the drought that is gripping the Western Cape. “He has proven himself reliable and someone able to think on his feet”, says Pieter. He is also training as a tractor driver after hours. After all the guidance you can only trust God to change peoples’ minds.”“It is so motivating for me and for the entire team to see how Ida and her son Jeandré have stepped back from the brink and now have capacity to support others doing the same.” Pieter ends.
Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing managing director Roelf Pienaar says that Tru-Cape’s greatest asset is its people. “Having a board member like Pieter Reuvers who shares our commitment to growing potential in our people leads to greater alignment on the things that really matter.” he ends