Beanstalk Global & The PMA in South Africa – The Kiwi Fruit Industry.

The Produce Marketing Association is a key International trade organisation representing companies from every segment of the global fresh produce and floral supply chain. The PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. Their mission is to connect, inform and deliver industry solutions to enhance their members’ prosperity.

Each month, we will be focusing on a major area of South African fresh produce and discussing that all with the country’s key industry experts so we can learn and appreciate fantastic South African Fresh Produce. This month it’s Kiwifruit!

The SA Kiwifruit industry is small (about 200ha under cultivation), though production dates back more than 40 years. The fruit is grown in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and there has been resurgence recently in the Western Cape. While the local industry has operated in the shadows of major fruits for many years, interest is growing. This is driven in part by changing global consumer preferences and the focus on a healthy diet. SA believe it is possible that the kiwifruit industry could experience impressive expansion — as was the case with blueberries, which were stagnant for a long time expanded greatly as global demand spurred SA farmers to increase their production. Compounded by the fact SA has a distinct advantage over New Zealand, the world’s leading exporter of the fruit, thanks to its relative proximity to the EU.

On the panel we will be speaking to several leading experts on the South African Kiwifruit Industry including:

Louw Pienaar – BFAP. Louw completed his Masters in Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University in 2013. He has worked at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture as Deputy Director, leading an economic research unit doing applied research in macro and resource economics. His area of expertise is in agricultural value chains and alternative fruits, as well as international trade dynamics. He is presently a Senior Analyst at BFAP (Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy).

Malcolm Deacon – Gold Tree Farm.  Malcolm is the Managing Partner/Director at Gold Tree Farms which is a 45,000 plant nursery and Golden Kiwi Fruit producer in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal.  He is also Chairman of the Soreli Growers Club (Pty) Ltd and Managing Partner/Director of KiwiGoldTM.  Malcolm is interested in the development of the South African Kiwifruit industry and the standards and structures to ensure that South Africa is seen as a producer of high-quality fruit to the global market. 

Athol Currie – TFFG. Currently, the KwaZulu Natal Regional Manager for The Fruit Farm Group South Africa, Athol’s main focus is on the production and packing of avocados. The Fruit Farm Group South Africa also packs Golden Kiwi Fruit at its Katopé  packhouse in Richmond, KZN. After becoming involved in avocado production in the early 1990s. He then served on the South African Avocado Growers Association Board as Chairman, and as the regional director for SAAGA KZN​, after first becoming involved in avocado production during the early 1990s.

Pieter de Jongh – FreshWorld.  Pieter started his career in the fresh produce industry in 2007 in the UK where he imported fresh cut flowers and distributed them to the main retail chains. Upon his return  to South Africa in 2011, he got involved in exporting South African fresh produce – mainly cut flowers and citrus. Pieter joined Freshworld in 2017 where his South African Kiwi journey started.  Pieter is the  Marketing Manager at Freshworld where he markets and exports kiwi fruit to Freshworld’s  global clients in Europe, United Kingdom, Asia, Middle East and Canada.

Flippie Viljoen – TopFruit. Whilst at Freshworld in 2011/2012 Flippie started looking for alternative crops for their growers in Marble Hall. It was about at that time the first Skelton varieties were introduced to South Africa.
It was understood that if they wanted to market successfully in future they had to get involved in the production of kiwifruit – not by planting ourselves but getting growers to plant. Flippie has been involved ever since. He left Freshworld at end of 2012 but has stayed in a consulting role – running the kiwifruit business for them. 

In 2017 he met Rob Meihuizen from Topfruit – the commercial agents for a number of kiwifruit varieties, including Dori. Rob.  He shared the same vision for the future of kiwifruit in SA.  Flippie joined their team, first as a consultant and then later on a permanent basis. At that time he was still involved in the citrus export industry too.

Flippie now heads up the kiwifruit division in TopFruit – responsible for commercialising a number of varieties. TopFruit and Freshworld work together on a number of projects.

Lianne Jones – Country Manager Southern Africa, PMA.

To find out more about the PMA in Southern Africa, PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK.

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