In June this year the SAAPPA board, HORTGRO management team and other industry role-players came together at Klipbokkop to align the apple and pear producers for the future. The workshop, facilitated by Louis von Broembsen, aimed to clarify the role and activities of the SAAPPA board, by revisiting the principles underpinning its vision and dealt with issues that are of the highest priority for pome fruit growers as a collective. Elise-Marie Steenkamp gives feedback.
“There are a number of parallels and similarities between universities and industries that make partnerships a natural relationship outflow. This kind of partnership is not only limited to the Stellenbosch University and the deciduous fruit industry, but it is a global trend that is here to stay.”
This was the message from Prof Danie Brink, Acting Dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences at the University of Stellenbosch to apple and pear growers at their strategic workshop that was held in June at Klipbokkop Nature Reserve.
Brink said that both universities and industries have to be sustainable in the long run. “In your world environmental sustainability is a key factor, in ours we have to grapple with budgets and business forecasts, whilst also publishing world-class academic papers.”
He also pointed out that both universities and industries have to be internationally competitive and cope with rapid technological and infrastructure growth. “In South Africa we are also both challenged to transform in a complex landscape that brings about social change and other trials.”
Brink said that universities and industries shared the same goals: “We both want to be the preferred choice, deliver excellence, be sustainable over the long haul, stay innovative, have social responsibility, unlock potential and at the same time be profitable.”
He shared his vision with growers of what he described as “the nature of university-industry partnerships”:
- A shared vision and foundation of mutual trust
- Deeper, longer term and strategic relationship
- Value proposition to all partners
- Shared risk and accountability, an understanding of needs, capabilities and constraints
- Leadership capable of crossing boundaries between business and academia
- A collective platform for the exchange of ideas, information and communication
- A clear agreement on resultant intellectual property
- Ability to adapt to changing needs and conditions
“For both of us this is a strategic partnership with a level of interdependence, but there is enough shared history and good will to take this solid partnership into the future. We can optimise each other and unlock potential,” he said.
SAAPPA strategy for future
The SAAPPA workshop was conducted to clarify the role and activities of the SAAPPA board, by revisiting the principles underpinning its vision and mission and agree which issues and actions are of highest priority for growers, the pome fruit industry as a collective and HORTGRO.
Levy-paying pome fruit growers are the primary customers of SAAPPA. These growers look to SAAPPA as an enabler and for support in achieving their long-term sustainable pome production and (to a lesser extent) marketing objectives. SAAPPA also acts as a mouthpiece of the pome grower collective. SAAPPA is therefore responsible for defining and identifying its key focus areas and managing its key result areas which include leadership, research, market access, establishing networks and links, communication, transformation, knowledge transfer and promoting the image of their industry.
The SASPA strategy workshop was held in March, and a HORTGRO board strategy session will be held in August, where after strategy goals will be aligned and feedback given to producers about the way forward.