Members of the South African stonefruit and apple and pear industries have made a collective pledge, along with other national fruit organisations, to set ambitious agri-transformation goals that will bring the industry together.
Hortgro, the organisation representing South Africa’s stonefruit and apple and pear producers, develops the plum, peach, nectarine, apple and pear categories in the UK through its integrated marketing initiative, which is now in its 13th year.
At the end of October 2020, representatives from Hortgro topfruit, stonefruit and the DFDC – South Africa’s first black fruit producer organisation – came together with the aim of aligning industry strategy and developing “an implementable, measurable, and future-focused transformation strategy and blueprint for the DFI that is equitable, fair and just for all”.
“The environment in which we operate is constantly changing," explained Hortgro executive director, Anton Rabe. "We had to revisit the previous strategic goals and objectives to ensure that they are still aligned and relevant to the latest challenges and industry realities.
“If we want to grow our industry, stay economically competitive and change the participation in the value chain of those previously disadvantaged to do so, it is vital that we as a commodity body engage with outside stakeholders and speak from one mouth to the benefit of the whole industry," Rabe added.
The transformation goals set by the collective deciduous fruit industry include a new criterion for monitoring transformation progress, a multi-media strategy for communicating the USPs of the Deciduous Fruit Industry, a plan to identify and assist new and existing black agri-entrepreneurs to become successful agri-businesses, and the identification of successful business models for the industry’s value chain.
It is currently predicted that by the end of the 2020/21 stonefruit season, the industry will have seen a 9 per cent increase in South African nectarine exports, an 11 per cent increase for peaches, and a 25 per cent increase for South African plums, compared with last year.
The increased volumes are mainly driven by young orchards coming into production and more favourable weather conditions.
Collaboration with retailers has been one of the main focuses of this year’s campaign, which will see on-pack labels, branded in-store promotions and digital advertisements on various UK retailer websites, alongside social media activity.