SOUTH AFRICA – The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) has appointed Gerrit van der Merwe as its new chairperson for the upcoming two-year term.

This transition sees outgoing chairperson Hannes de Waal assuming the role of one of two vice-chairpersons, alongside Jan-Louis Pretorius, as per the board’s established rotational leadership structure.

Bringing a wealth of experience to the position, van der Merwe has served as the Managing Director of ALG Estates, overseeing multiple citrus farms in the Citrusdal region for the past six years.

His prior engagement within the citrus industry in the United States underscores his seasoned insight into the sector’s dynamics.

Expressing his vision for the industry, van der Merwe aims to foster a more community-centered approach within the citrus sector while enhancing its economic impact.

He emphasizes the importance of collaboration among stakeholders to realize the industry’s potential for growth and job creation.

Justin Chadwick, CEO of the CGA, underscores the significance of van der Merwe’s appointment amid the industry’s expansion.

“Van der Merwe brings enormous experience to the board, particularly as the industry is poised for growth,” Chadwick remarks, highlighting the pivotal role of effective leadership in harnessing this momentum.

The CGA board, comprising 23 directors representing diverse citrus-growing regions, including areas with emerging farmers, reflects the industry’s broad spectrum of interests and expertise.

Looking ahead, van der Merwe is poised to tackle pressing challenges facing the industry, notably poor logistics and market access.

He expresses confidence in the CGA’s collaborative efforts with the government to address these hurdles, paving the way for sustained growth and prosperity within the citrus sector.

Successful market campaign in India by FruitSA delegates

In a related development, the recent visit of a delegation from Fruit South Africa to India has yielded promising outcomes for South African fruit exports.

According to Justin Chadwick who was part of the team, traders in the Indian market lauded the quality, competitive pricing, and shelf life of South African produce.

While acknowledging these strengths, they also cautioned about persistently high import duties and the need for in-transit cold treatment, factors that could potentially undermine South Africa’s competitiveness.

The CGA is actively pursuing trial shipments to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of in-transit cold treatment, a crucial step towards easing trade barriers.

The organization’s concerted efforts align with broader initiatives aimed at expanding South Africa’s presence in global markets and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

Congratulations were extended to HORTGRO for its successful market development campaign in India, which has significantly enhanced South Africa’s visibility and market penetration in the region.

As stakeholders convene at events like Fresh Produce India in Mumbai, the focus on key trends, including consumer market evolution, digitalization, retail dynamics, production innovation, and transport infrastructure upgrades, underscores the imperative of adaptability and strategic foresight in navigating the evolving landscape of the global fruit trade.

For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.