Two local companies are eager to show off their wares at the Fruit Logista Berlin Trade Fair that gets underway in Germany today.
Stems Fruit and Unlimited Group based in the Western Cape, both received financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), and are part of the 25 companies that will be participating in the trade fair taking place in Berlin.
Managing Director of Stems Fruit, Annelie Hauman, said Berlin offers opportunities for South African companies to supply the best quality stone fruits. She said Berlin provides local companies with an opportunity to expand their footprint in Europe.
“This will be my fourth participation. I will get an opportunity to meet up again with our existing clients, retailers, logistics people and service providers. We have also set up meetings with breeders and growers who have representatives all over the world in order to access new markets,” said Hauman of the trade fair.
The trade fair 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.
Sterns Fruit is a marketing company that represents 25 growers and exports white and yellow flesh nectarines and peaches, plums and apricots.
Meanwhile, Unlimited Group’s managing director Riel Malan said the fair is unique in the sense that it is the centre of the fruit universe.
Malan said the three-day exhibition fair will provide him with much needed opportunities.
“Every single year is interesting, and as a mature company we are always looking at fine-tuning our business and find two or three extra high-end customers and new products that might expand or fit into our basket,” said Malan.
At the 2017 fair, Malan’s company signed a deal with a small supermarket chain that is based in Siberia. Unlimited Group is already supplying the chain store on a small scale since beginning of this year.
Over the years, the dti has assisted hundreds of businesses through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance scheme. The scheme develops export markets for South African products and services.
Meanwhile, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), in partnership with the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) and Culdevco will launch the seedless breeding of the red table grape variety called Joybells at the fair.
Joybells was cultivated in 2001 by table grape breeder and senior researcher at the ARC Phyllis Burger.
The breeding programme for grape varieties since 1952 has changed so much in that the industry has increased by size.
“Based on the increase in the industry and consumer demands, as a research council together with the industry, we started to locally invest more into the seedless breeding programme in the past 10 years. To get varieties in the table grape sector most South African growers relied heavily on imported varieties that had to be adapted to our climate. Therefore, there was a need to cultivate a breeding programme locally,” said Burger.
Chief Executive Officer of SATI, Willem Bestbier, said with the launch and introduction of Joybells in the table grape industry, South Africa’s profile as a serious table grape grower and supplier world-wide will be raised.
“The table grape industry globally is spoilt for choice. There are many breeding programmes that are available in international markets, but nothing beats a home-bred success that has all the local breeding objectives focusing on our own reality like soil, climate, the market that we serve, farmers’ skills, and other inputs constraints or challenges that we face as the industry,” said Bestbier.
He added that experience over many years has showed that a home-bred and locally evaluated breeding programme often performs better than an imported one and that the risks are lower.
General Manager of Culdevco, Dr Leon Von Mollendorff, said as the marketing and licensing company for South African deciduous fruit industry varieties, they are proud to partner with ARC and SATI to launch the freshest addition to its varieties.
The fair will conclude on Friday.