Emerging farmers and agri worker inspire hope
Four fruit farmers, Andreas Klaase, Belinda Williams, Debrah Theunissen, Liza Ambraal and the Western Cape Prestige Agri-Award winner, Nigel Klaasen, have just returned from a market access capacity building tour to the Netherlands and attending Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Germany.
Fruit Logistica is an international trade fair that covers all sectors of the fresh produce business. It showcases the latest innovations, trends, products and services across the entire fresh produce value chain.
Londiwe Thabethe, Manager of Agricultural Economic Services at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, said that Fruit Logistica provides an excellent platform to showcase all aspects of the value chain, initiate business deals, and make contacts worldwide.
Thabethe said: "South Africa and Europe have strong historical trade relations, with South Africa gaining market access to the European Union through the European Union Southern African Development Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-SADC EPA). The SADC EPA is a development focussed trade agreement. It offers more market access because 96% of South African products can be exported to Europe duty and quota-free. In comparison, 3% are subject to a tariff reduction. Fruit Logistica supports the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's goal to improve market access for all farmers," she continues.
Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer describes the smallholder farmers and Nigel Klaasen as warriors of hope.
Meyer said: "The four black smallholder farmers and Nigel Claasen 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."
Commenting on her experience, Lisa Ambraal from Ceres said: "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 Klaase from Clanwilliam, travelling to Germany was very interesting as he got to experience new adventures that he had never had the opportunity to explore before.
Klaase said: "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".
The 2022 Western Cape Prestige Agri-Award winner, Nigel Klaasen, viewed the tour as a life-changing and informative experience.
Klaasen said: "It made me realize how competitive the global fresh produce value chain was. I also learnt the significance of improving market share by staying relevant with the latest trends and technology."
"What also stood out for me was that everything I saw comes from the farm, and that warmed my heart in the cold Berlin weather", he added.
"The Western Cape is South Africa's leading 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", concluded Meyer.
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer