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Procuring academic excellence to solve industry problems

A team from Hortgro recently met with Stellenbosch University (SU) Rector, Prof Wim de Villiers, and his senior management team to align the strategic goals of both parties.

Hortgro’s current investment in research projects and funded posts at SU is R19,1 million which includes 44 postgraduate bursaries valued at R3,4 million.  In addition, Hortgro has donated towards capital developments like insectaries and cold room facilities that support research at SU.

Hortgro Science General Manager, Hugh Campbell, said that the deciduous fruit industry and the SU have a historic relationship. “The two complement one another on many levels. One area of concern to us as an industry is the maintenance and succession planning of posts that are critical to the deciduous fruit industry.  Agriculture is an applied science and we need people in the university who know and understand the industry,” Campbell said.

“The deciduous fruit industry needs well-educated graduates that can solve industry problems in future. Applied researchers and technical experts are great assets for the industry.”

Campbell pointed out that Hortgro could enhance SU’s strategic framework and its 2040 vision of “forward together”. “We see ourselves as a strategic partner and in the process of meeting our industry needs also address many of the universities strategic outcomes.

“It is important for us that the SU’s agriculture faculty maintains and grows its standards and focus on the development of specialists that can be absorbed by the industry. We need to know that we can grow our investment in research and people. In the end, research follows people,” Campbell said.

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The meeting took place at the Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch.
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