By Carmé Naudé
Mariette Kotze, Hortgro’s Group Operational Manager, was recently appointed to the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), as representative of the pome and stone fruit industries.
Kotze who has been working in the deciduous fruit industry for the past 18 years, will bring valuable expertise to the PPECB.
Kotze is well-known within the pome and stone fruit farming communities, working closely with upcoming- and commercial farmers. Enthusiastic about her appointment, she hopes to grow within the organisation and contribute to ensure that the functions of the PPECB are well executed. “It is important that the role of PPECB is justified to the producers,” she says. “Risk management is imperative to maintain ‘safe fruit’ from South Africa.”
According to Kotze, the industry faces many challenges such as maintaining current markets and gaining access to new markets. Another challenge is the functioning capacity and infrastructure of the South African harbours. “Currently our harbours are struggling to handle all the export volumes,” she says.
Kotze is optimistic about the future of the deciduous fruit industry. “Volumes are increasing and we have a healthy production infrastructure, the future of the industry is looking rosy. “Water resources and climate change will have an effect on the future of agriculture in this country but the continuously evolving nature of innovation and technology will allow the industry to adapt,” she says.
The requirements for fresh produce exports are becoming stricter, which place a lot of responsibility on the producer, and at the cost of the producer. “It is important for producers to take ownership where possible to ensure fruit safety and security. That way we build the South African deciduous fruit brand as a product of excellence.”