South African cultivar management company commemorates four decades in the business

TopFruit has celebrated its 40th anniversary with the South African cultivar management company reflecting on its journey and looking to the future with great excitement. 

TopFruit manages Bingo Gala

TopFruit manages Bingo Gala

Managing director Rob Meihuizen said strategic partnerships would continue to play an important role in the success of the company.

“We remain focused on growth and innovation at the forefront of fruit industry developments, expanding our global presence, and introducing new and exciting fruit varieties and brands to consumers worldwide,” said Meihuizen.

Meihuizen said from the beginning the company recognised the significant value of intellectual property in fruit marketing. It introduced a sustainable model by charging royalties on tree production and trademarks, also ensuring a balance between expanding production volumes, and maintaining high-quality standards.

At the heart of TopFruit’s operations is its plant material management services. In compliance with government regulations, TopFruit manages the importation of varieties for evaluation and supports the evaluation and establishment of locally developed and discovered varieties and mutations. The company says it also manages import permits and oversees the importation and quarantine of plant material, ensuring compliance with regulations and safeguarding the integrity of the industry.

Rob Meihuizen emphasised the importance of strategic partnerships and valuable friendships along the company’s journey.

“TopFruit has collaborated with local experts in various regions, combining their knowledge with TopFruit’s expertise in IP management. Nurturing valuable relationships built over many years is of the utmost importance to TopFruit,” he said.

The company has also developed strong international links to foster successful cultivar development and bring the best of new varieties to the South African industry. It currently has partnership agreements with companies in New Zealand, Australia, the US and countries in Europe and Asia. 

“With a diverse portfolio that includes pome fruit (apples, pears), stonefruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries), table grapes, berries, and the recent addition of kiwifruit and nuts, TopFruit continues to lead the way in fruit production,” said Meihuizen.

“The company’s expansion into these new divisions reflects its dedication to staying at the forefront of industry trends and meeting the evolving demands of consumers.”

Topfruit has managed a range of leading fruit varieties including the Pink Lady apple, which originates from the Cripps Pink variety. It has also worked with the likes of the Bradford varieties (stonefruit programme); Cripps Red/Sundowner (today sold under the Joya trademark); Plant & Food Research’s blueberry programme in New Zealand; Bingo Gala, which is a South African apple mutation; Kiwiko BV, a joint venture to manage kiwifruit varieties globally; TopNut International’s joint venture to manage nut varieties globally, as well as a range of varieties from the Arra programme.