Celebrating three decades of delivery quality products…
Thirty years ago, on March 1, 1979, Tobie and Sannie Fourie bought a small dairy in Messina, called Limpopo Dairy. It consisted of 15 cows, of which only seven were producing milk. ‘The Messina community in those days had no trust in fresh milk. The challenge was to build up their trust in the use of fresh milk by delivering only the best quality,’ says Tobie Fourie, in an article commemorating the dairy’s 25th anniversary in the local newspaper. At that stage, there was a market for only 33 liters of fresh milk per day. Although this milk was not pasteurized, it was certified and did not contain any harmful or decaying bacteria. With a lot of motivation, coupled with door-to-door deliveries in glass bottles, a volume of 1200 liters of milk was marketed per day. ‘In 1983, Kumek, a big milk producer during that era, moved to Pietersburg from Louis Trichardt.
We were approached by the City Council to open a milk shop. About the same time, the president of the old Venda, the Honorable Patrick Mphephu, sent a messenger to invite Tobie Fourie to visit him. He asked me to come and settle south of the Soutpansberg because his people also had a need for fresh milk,’ explains Mr Fourie. For these two compelling reasons, the family bought the current farm, part of Ledig, and in April 1984 built a cowshed, a small factory and a feed shed. By December 1984, the 154 cows had been moved. At that stage, there were 107 cows producing 1200 liters of milk per day. The Fourie family lived in a mobile caravan for 18 months, building up the business before building a house for the family. These were trying times and are remembered by the family as a time that brought them very close to each other.
The business went from strength to strength and expanded as time went by. In 1996, Bishop Leganjane of the Zionist Christian Church and 70 000 of its members visited the farm to pray for the family and the business. As a result of being very involved in community development, the business has received lots of support over the years.
Hygienik Dairy in Polokwane as one of the largest competitors of Limpopo Dairy at the time was bought by the family in December 2002. All manufacturing activities were moved to the Limpopo Dairy factory to ensure top quality and Hygienik Dairy has gone from strength to strength, focusing on Polokwane and the southern part of the Limpopo Province. Technology is one of the most important parts of the business and the company has been the first in the southern hemisphere to install a 26-point rotary inside-milking machine from Sweden. Growing with the newest technology available has helped the company to stay in touch with world trends. The factory is audited often by leading food auditing firms and complies with all the regulations and is one of the leading food factories in the province!
Today, Limpopo Dairy milks in excess of 850 of its own cows per day in order to produce the variety of our award winning brands . The company currently owns the largest goat dairy in South Africa and is one of the suppliers of fresh goat’s milk, yoghurt and cheeses to Woolworths nationally. Today, Tobie and Sannie Fourie’s children are part of the management team responsible for the daily running of the business, but the founders are still involved in many of the activities and decisions to ensure their legacy continues.