Fall Creek Farm & Nursery has appointed Burgert Van Dyk as regional director for South Africa to build the business in the RSA and Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Under his supervision, the company will set up a new nursery in South Africa and recruit staff necessary to operate it and develop strong relationships with the company’s blueberry nursery and genetics customers in the region.
He will oversee the implementation and administration of new genetics licensing programmes, and build the regional customer service, sales and grower support team. Based outside of Cape Town, South Africa, he reports to president and COO Oscar Verges.
Van Dyk has 25 years of experience in the agriculture industry and is an expert in plant variety intellectual property rights. Most recently, he was general manager of operations, procurement and intellectual property at the South African Plant Improvement Organisation (now SAPO Trust), where he started as a cultivar specialist.
He began his professional career at the Nietvoorbij Institute for Viticulture and Oenology (now Agriculture Research Institute) in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
“Fall Creek is investing in a South Africa nursery to serve the blueberry industry’s growth needs in the RSA and Sub-Saharan Africa region as a natural counterseasonal supplier of blueberries to Europe and a main supplier of blueberries to Asia,” said Verges.
“We are thrilled to have Burgert join Fall Creek in this leadership position. He has intimate knowledge of the nursery and genetics industry in Southern Africa where he’s been introducing new varieties for many years.
“He understands the needs of growers in the region and is uniquely qualified and experienced to facilitate the rapid introduction of Fall Creek's new blueberry genetics, technical support services, and commercialisation models into the region.”
“Fall Creek offered the professional challenge I was ready for,” says Van Dyk. “My initial focus goes to build the team of exceptional professionals that will serve the needs of some of the most informed growers in the world.
“I’m really looking forward to bringing Fall Creek’s new, more open model and superior blueberry genetics to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and other neighbouring countries where there are a lot of opportunities for economic development.”
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and raised in the Western Cape town of the Strand, Van Dyk earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and oenology, a master’s degree in viticulture, and an honours degree in business management and administration from the University of Stellenbosch.
He has been a guest speaker on intellectual property rights and related topics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China.
Van Dyk also is the head technical expert on fruit for CIOPORA (the International Community of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Ornamental and Fruit Plants), acting as a liaison to the UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) technical workgroup on fruit.