SAPO Trust’s mission is to develop a comprehensive range of virus-free plant material that can be supplied cost-effectively to the fruit industries in South Africa. The company pioneers variety development and the commercialisation of new fruit varieties in South Africa. It is SAPO Trust's vision to be the preferred fruit plant material provider in the country, as they continually strive to be on top of a competitive industry.

“Love for plants is a profession of hope.”

A look into the life at SAPO Trust

In this corporate video, SAPO Trust shines light on the delivate, and often intricate process involved in producing improved plant material.
To watch the video, please click the screen to the right.

Click play button to play video

Our e-newsletter

Every quarter SAPO Trust will bring out an electronic publication containing news on new varieties and industry trends as well as what's happening at SAPO Trust headquarters and the Nursery in Riversonderend. Sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter by clicking on the link below. Or click on the archive button to view past newsletters.


  • 1945
    The idea of plant improvement is conceived by Dr SJ du Plessis.
  • 1950
    The first step is taken – conducting a programme based on the visual selection of suitable plant material. 
  • 1964
    The South African Plant Improvement Association (Plantas) is established.
  • 1971
    A fruit improvement scheme is designed specifically for South Africa. 
  • 1974
    The Deciduous, Canning and Dried Fruit Boards establish the South African Plant Improvement Organisation (SAPO) as a partnership agreement with equal representation and clear objectives of supplying improved plant material to the industry.
  • 1975
    Excelsior Farm is developed by SAPO as a centralised propagation and multiplication unit. 
  • 1976
    The first super plant rootstock material, true to type and free of known viruses, is issued to nurserymen.
  • 1979
    Nurseries supplied the first super plant trees to producers.
  • 1987
    Fleurbaix Farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch becomes SAPO headquarters.
  • 1999
    SAPO becomes a trust, changing its name to SAPO Trust.
  • 2003
    The first new nucleus facilities are established on Fleurbaix.
  • 2007
    SAPO’s foundation nursery is established at Tygerhoek farm in Riviersonderend.
  • 2010
    SAPO Trust’s laboratory is SANAS accredited.
  • 2011
    SAPO becomes Black Economic Empowered. 
  • 2012
    SAPO Trust (also) registers as Plant Improvement Organisation for wine grapes.
  • 2013
    New pathology laboratory commences with operations.
  • 2015
    Inauguration of the SAPO Office Block.

Fresh Press

In expanding their support to the smaller and alternative crops industry, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture assigned SAPO Trust in Stellenbosch to propagate the source plants from eight of the most important varieties of their historical fig resources grown at their Oudtshoorn research farm. SAPO Trust will be responsible for safekeeping and maintaining these fig varieties at Fleurbaix Farm in Stellenbosch.


Following evaluation of this variety, findings revealed that there is a constant demand for white flesh peaches by consumers – both in canned form and on the fresh market. These peaches have unique flavours that surpass those of traditional yellow peaches. 

Dried Fruit Technical Services took the bold decision to extend their current range of raisin grape varieties with varieties from abroad.

A list of four varieties is on the SAPO Trust’s import list from California in the USA. Three varieties were released from quarantine, after which they were planted in different regions and released to the industry in November 2012. The fourth variety will arrive in South Africa during 2014.