Attie’s ties with Tikketai

Apr 20, 2023 | Community, General

Attie de Klerk, Agronomist at Tikketai, broccoli and cauliflower wholesalers situated in the Southern Cape, is a friendly and warm guy, with the strive of improving on every previous day.  His job at Tikketai includes the production planning, from seeds to harvest to provide the promised orders.  He also continuously seeks ways to increase soil productivity, develop better cultivation, improve crop yield, quality of seed and crops.  He investigates better planting and harvesting techniques and solve challenges and problems in the Tikketai world of production.

Fishing for vegetables

He was born in Mowbray, Cape Town and spent most of his childhood life in Namibia. He started his career at Table Top at the fishing factory in Walvis Bay.  It is here where he met his wife, Nellie. When they Table Top closed in Walvis Bay in  1982, they offered Attie an opportunity at their vegetable factory in George. “This was how I ended up in vegetable production,” he explains.

In 2013 Attie swopped the fields at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains for the potatoes and sweet potatoes fields of Delmas.  He worked there for 5 years and returned for a position at Southern Cape Veggies at Brandwacht near Mossel Bay.

Attie tied the knot with Tikketai at the end of 2019 when the position for agronomist became available at Tikketai.

Burger Gericke, CEO of Tikketai, states that Attie is a top-notch agronomist as he is self-motivated, detail-oriented and analytical.  This position requires a person with exceptional communication skills and a desire to solve problems.  Attie consciously gives all his energy to build and maintain good and honest relationships with everybody in our value chain and I contribute his success to that”, he adds.

Challenges and lessons

According to Attie his biggest challenge is having the perfect weather for the broccoli and cauliflower to grow optimally.  The Southern Cape and especially the areas at the foot of the Outeniquas can be quite wet or experience warm berg winds which often poses challenges.  Attie explains, “Wet weather creates a suitable environment for fungicides such as Alternaria also referred to as black spot which affects the quality of the broccoli and cauliflower heads.  Berg winds on the other hand accelerate the growth of the heads which make it necessary to monitor to ensure that these crops are harvested at the right size.  You can therefore surely relate when I say that having good weather is also the greatest part of my job.”

Vitals at Tikketai

Besides the technical side of his job, working with people in a team where you get cooperation to get results, is probably the most important part of his job at Tikketai.  “The satisfaction lies in when you can make things work out – when producers can plant and harvest a first-grade product that Tikketai can sell to retailers all year round.  This can only happen when there are steady relationships and effective two-way communication with your colleagues and the producers,” he states. 

He also explains that planning is vital.  “We plan 33 weeks, nearly 8 months, ahead.  For example this week we plan for seeds to be sown 15 weeks from now, it then needs to be planted out by the producers 21 weeks from now and harvested 33 weeks from this now.   They always must estimate and plan in such a way that they can supply produce demanded by retailers 8 months from now.  He says that they approach this as a team an according to him one develops a gut feel towards accurate estimations. 

He has learned that one needs to be hands-on to ensure that Tikketai delivers its promises to retailers. “It is all about supply and demand and you form part of a team where you want to create quality and volumes.  This again creates an energy and momentum for the producers that rebounds as satisfaction to both the producer and the wholesaler,” he tells.

Attie is a content man who lives a simple life with the main aim of improving every day.  “I believe we each have a responsibility to contribute to the people and environment around us. You need to add value in your workplace and in your family,” he says.

For fun

Attie and Nellie enjoy slack travelling that sometimes includes camping and 4 x 4 trails.  Walvis Bay stays one of their favourite holiday destinations as a large part of their family is still there.  And for fun Attie enjoys being in the field for Tikketai.