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Since its establishment in 1994 Du Roi Laboratory (Letsitele, Limpopo Province) has become a market leader in terms of the production and distribution of elite selections and disease free tissue culture plants, with a focus on the banana and sugarcane industry. Very recently this facility became the first of its kind in South Africa to successfully transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard. “We received our first ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Certification in 2011,” says Suné Kleynhans, general manager of Du Roi Lab. “However, in order to provide complete peace of mind to our customers, we commit to continuous improvement and therefore the recertification to the latest industry standard.”

According to Kleynhans this accreditation sets them apart as a responsible, reliable and highly qualified producer of Tissue Culture Banana Plants. “The protection and satisfaction of the customer is ultimately the focus of ISO 9001; our accreditation provides the customer with proof that we follow the standards stringently and they are reassured of receiving a quality, disease free product and quality service. “Our multinational clients in South Africa, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, etc., expect ISO accreditation which, in turn, gives them a competitive edge when trading with international supermarkets.

ISO accreditation ensures that an entire operational system from foundation block selection, the complete tissue culture lab process, to dispatch and customer relations are documented and formalized. Such a set of standard operational procedures further ensure efficient hand-over during management and staff changes, and assist in determining training and counselling needs.

Du Roi’s ISO accreditation pertains specifically to the production of Tissue Culture Banana Plants. The wider banana industry consequently benefits from the more formalised compilation of information and statistics which can, in turn, be analysed to highlight problem areas or potential improvements for the industry. (Du Roi’s sugarcane procedures follow the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) accredited tissue culture process, NovaCane®.)

The laboratory offers fully automated weaning facilities, on­site nurseries to harden plants for local markets and annually produces approximately six million banana and sugarcane plants, available at three stages of development, namely rooted in­vitro plants, weaned in vivo plants and nursery-hardened field ready plants.

Strong work ethics

Du Roi Laboratory, which forms part of the ANB Investments group of companies, is a global business with a strong local market and a list of some of the biggest international clients in the fruit business. “’The customer is king’ is no cliché for the Du Roi staff,” says Kleynhans. “We focus on supplying top quality plants, on time, and our professional staff offer technical support to clients worldwide in order to ensure continued success. We also follow a strong code of ethics and invest in our people.”

Women doing the meticulous, intensely concentrated work in the laboratory, necessarily work in 4-hour shifts – creating a somewhat different daily work routine. In an effort to enable mothers to come to work with a clear conscience regarding the safekeeping and development of their little ones, a special crèche facility was established in the immediate area where children receive two nutritious meals a day, and breastfeeding mothers are able to attend to their babies in addition to the hour lunch time which they can spend with their babies. Children are not only looked after and well cared for, they are also educated (up to grade RR) by qualified teachers.



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Issue 46


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