Deciduous Fruit Industry signs pledge to lead the way
At the end of October, representatives from Hortgro Pome, Stone and the DFDC came together with the aim to align the industry strategy and to develop “an implementable, measurable, and future-focused transformation strategy and blueprint for the DFI that is equitable, fair and just for all”.
According to Hortgro Executive Director, Anton Rabe, the strategy session was necessary as the last similar event took place more than three years ago. “The environment in which we operate is constantly changing. We had to revisit the previous strategic goals and objectives to ensure that they are still aligned and relevant to the latest challenges and industry realities. It is also good practice to assess what worked and where the shortfalls were in order to adapt our industry focus areas.”
According to Rabe some of the issues that required attention are to ensure that the focus of the DFDC fits in within the broader Hortgro functions and services. “Some role clarification and alignment between decision making and governance structures were therefore required. If we want to grow our industry, stay economically competitive and change the participation in the value chain of those previously disadvantaged to do so, it is vital that we as a commodity body engage with outside stakeholders and speak from one mouth to the benefit of the whole industry.”
Mr Ismail Motala, DFDC Chairman, emphasised the reasons why the strategic alignment was necessary.
“Firstly, because the industry has not progressed with transformation imperatives, and secondly, there was a need for introspection but with a forward-looking perspective. The goals tabled at the strategy session are realistic, taking into account the economic reality and the need to develop comprehensive support, to realize the reworked mission of a globally competitive, but most importantly an equitable deciduous fruit industry,” he said.
The two-day session, under the guidance of communications and negotiations guru, Prof David Venter, saw many heavy debates, but everyone agreed in the end that failure was not an option and that the DFI was “stronger together”.
The group agreed that the mission statement should clearly indicate where the DFI is heading.
“A globally competitive, equitable, unified and economically transformed Deciduous Fruit Industry”.
One of the biggest challenges in the past was to bring about change within a specific timeframe. Therefore the representatives agreed on the following transformation goals within a three-year time frame. With goals measured regularly by specific task teams.
- To appoint a task team for identifying and defining objective criteria to be used for measuring and monitoring DFI transformation performance.
- To appoint a team for identifying and developing the most efficient multi-media strategy and plans for communicating the universal selling points (USPs) of the Deciduous Fruit Industry.
- To appoint a task team to develop a strategy and plan whereby new and existing black agri-entrepreneurs are identified and assisted to become successful agri-businesses.
- To appoint a task team to identify successful business models (new and existing) across all spheres of the DFI value chain, bearing in mind the critical success factors and supporting structures that will inter alia facilitate the necessary finance and investment, as well as risk mitigation.
- To develop a lobbying strategy and plan, as well as the related communication tools and skills needed to effectively interact and communicate with all governmental constituencies.
At the conclusion of the session, participants agreed to all sign a pledge to demonstrate their unwavering individual and collective commitment to the transformation journey that was unanimously agreed upon.
David Venter said that the signing of the pledge could prove to be a watershed moment in the future of the South African deciduous fruit industry.
“The openness, honesty and civility with which all participants worked together to craft the outcome that is encapsulated in this document, undoubtedly points to a positive and inclusive journey that will not at all times be without obstacles, but will collectively be scaled in the interests of the DFI community and our country.”
Venter concluded with a quote by George Bernard Shaw: “You see things that are and ask why; I dream things that never were and ask why not.”
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