Fruit SA Embarks On Initiative to Promote SA Fresh Produce in Germany

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fruit South Africa (Fruit SA), Ms Fhumulani Ratshitanga says that the Fruit Logistica international exhibition that will take place in Germany will enable her organisation to profile and promote the local industry as a supplier of choice to current and potential buyers of fresh produce in international markets. Fruit SA will be part of a 25-company business delegation that will participating in the trade show, which takes place in Berlin from 5 7 February 2020. The companies will be led by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).

Fruit SA is an umbrella body for different fruit associations in South Africa. The member associations are the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF), HORTGRO (representing pome and stone fruit industries), Subtrop (representing subtropical fruit), the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) and the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA).

Fruit Logistica is regarded as the world’s leading international trade fair for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry and covers every sector of the international fruit and vegetable supply chain from production, distribution and marketing, through to the point of sale including global players as well as small and medium sized suppliers from all around the world.

Ratshitanga explains that the European Union and United Kingdom combined have been, and still are, the largest markets for South African fruit taking up about 34% and 14% respectively of fruit exports.

It is therefore crucial that we continue to be visible in these markets as they are still important for our products. The interest is not only on Germany but the entire Europe. The South African fruit industry is export-oriented with more than 60% of the fruit types under the Fruit SA umbrella exported to more than 90 countries and this requires that the industry continually grows, retains and optimises markets for its products, she says.

She adds that the industry, through Fruit SA, has established the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA), a not-for-profit membership-based organisation. SIZA is the custodian of an ethical and environmental standard and oversees the ethical trade and environmental initiatives. SIZA started as a programme following a decision by the fruit industry to support the development of a single South African based ethical standard and programme that sought to provide retailers and their consumers with assurances of fair labour practices in their supply base.

In partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Fruit SA developed eCert, an online platform for receiving, verifying, processing and delivering certification documentation to trading partners involved with agricultural export products. This means creating systems that enable the export certification process to become paperless while giving DALRRD greater visibility about product along the supply chain. Overall this is expected to reduce costs of certification, help with resource planning, improve phytosanitary compliance and improve phytosanitary risk management, she says.

Source: Department of Trade and Industry