By Joy January
Four up-and-coming South African fruit farmers, Andreas Klaase, Belinda Williams, Debrah Theunissen and Liza Ambraal, along with Nigel Klaasen, winner of the Western Cape Prestige Agri-Award, recently returned from a market access capacity building tour to the Netherlands and the Fruit Logistica in Berlin.
The newest innovations, trends, products, and services across the entire fresh produce value chain are exhibited at this yearly international trade fair.
Londiwe Thabethe, Manager of Agricultural Economic Services at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, says in a press release that Fruit Logistica offers an outstanding platform to exhibit all aspects of the value chain, initiate business deals and build networks.
Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, describes the fruit farmers and agricultural worker as warriors of hope. “The four black smallholder farmers and Nigel Klaasen inspire the sector. They are hard-working and resourceful. They exemplify the reliance needed to enhance the Western Cape’s business competitiveness, investment, growth, job preservation, job creation, and maintaining and growing export opportunities.”
Ambraal farms apples, pears, and plums on the Dwarsberg farm in the Ceres district. “As a black smallholder farmer, Fruit Logistica was an eye-opener for me. I experienced the world of exports, from the orchard to the shelf, under one roof.”
According to Andreas, who farms table grapes and mangos in Clanwilliam, travelling to Germany was interesting as he has never had the opportunity to explore it before. “On my first day, I focused mostly on viewing various stands and engaging with exhibitors to learn new and existing trends in the fresh produce supply chain. I also learnt that so many role players are involved in various stages of the fresh produce supply chain.”
Nigel viewed the tour as a life-changing and learning opportunity. “It made me realise how competitive the global fresh produce value chain is. I also learnt the significance of improving market share by staying relevant with the latest trends and technology.”
Dr Meyer says the Western Cape is South Africa’s foremost exporter of primary agricultural products. “The study tour cements our commitment to export growth and job creation in the Western Cape as it unlocks further opportunities for Western Cape farmers.”