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INTERPERA 2016 – A Pear Affair

More than 100 international and local pear enthusiasts gathered in Franschhoek to attend the 9th annual Interpera World Pear Congress, which was held in South Africa for the first time.

Mr Nicholas Dicey, chairman of the South African Apple and Pear Producers’ Association (SAAPPA) said it was an honour for the local industry to host such a prestigious event.  “This is great opportunity to learn from one another and to tackle global industry challenges together. It is also an opportunity for our local growers to network with our international colleagues and global role-players.”

Mr Jacques Dasque, Secretary General of AREFLH, said throughout the world the pear was never well represented at international events, but with Interpera the pear has found its place in the universe of fresh fruit. “They industry is dynamic and Interpera is a platform where we share technical biological innovations, trade trends and discover how different countries produce their fruit.”

International business analyst, Chantell Ilbury, discussed future scenarios for the South African and international pear industry.

“We operate in a global environment where changes happen globally. We are in the age of uncertainty. It is easy to feel insecure and react accordingly. The challenge is to identify ‘red flags’, connect the dots, analyse risks, and look for options and make strategic decisions.” The decisions you make today, will have implications five to ten years from now, when the business world could look very different.” With Brexit and Trump we can expect international trade to push away from globalisation to a more protectionist stance. However in Africa we should look for collaborations between regions, based on the food, energy, water nexus. In an uncertain economic world, the fruit industry would be wise to invest in research and technology to make sure products are consistent and of high quality.”

Dr Richard Volz, well-known New Zealand apple and pear breeder explained their quest to find the perfect pear. According to Volz they are trying to create a ready-to-eat pear that will satisfy consumers from different countries.

Even though the South African pear industry is a small international player, about 50% of our pears are exported. South Africa can definitely lay claim to the title of producing the best tasting fruit in the world, said Jacques du Preez, HORTGRO Manager: Markets & Trade. “We have a unique climate with lots of sunshine that helps our growers to produce sweet tasting fruit. According to an international study South Africa has been ranked number one for its production efficiency. That means we manage to produce more pears on less hectares than any other country in the world. Even though pear consumption has not really grown, the South African pear industry is buoyant and healthy,” he said.

 

  • Read the full report back on Interpera in the February/March 2017 edition of the SAFJ.
  • If you missed the event, find the photos and presentations here: com

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