The fifth PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference & Expo, held Aug. 12 and 13 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, was a resounding success attracting more than 500 delegates from 12 countries. This was a 35 percent increase over 2014 attendance, and included an even more diverse audience from across the fresh produce supply chain. All sectors of the industry had increased participation, especially retailers, growers and logistics companies.
The event also saw an increased expo, both in size and the number of companies participating. New this year at the end of the first day was a beer garden reception, a top-rated feature of the conference providing excellent networking opportunities.
Attendees heard from over 30 speakers/panelists in 13 educational sessions. Topics ranged from cold chain logistics to retail trends, growth markets in Africa, rebirth of national wholesale markets, e-commerce and transparency. Featured speakers included:
- Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Senzeni Zokwana, South Africa Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- Justin King, former CEO of Sainsbury's
- Dr. Christo Wiese, Chairperson, Shoprite/Checkers and PEPKOR
- Mary Shelman, Director of the Agribusiness Program, Harvard Business School
The Women's Fresh Perspectives Breakfast was also a strong draw, doubling the attendance from the first year to over 140 delegates.
Session Descriptions and Presentation Links
Global Food Chain and Retail Trends: Implications for Southern Africa in 2015 and Beyond
Mary Shelman, Director of Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness Program, set the stage by sharing insights from case studies developed for the renowned Harvard Agribusiness Seminar. She addressed several major trends around alignment, sustainability, technology, consumer engagement, and the rising middle class looking for convenient and healthy options. In addition, she was joined by globally recognized retailers and a foodservice distributor to discuss how their companies are responding to this dynamic new environment.
Mary Shelman- Director of the Agribusiness Program, Harvard Business School- USA (Presentation)
Richard Dachman- Vice President of Produce, Sysco- USA (Presentation)
Russ Mounce- Senior Director for Produce and Floral, Sam’s Club- USA (Presentation)
Paulo Peereboom- Director: Merchandise and Supply Chain – Strategy & Corporate Affairs, Pick ‘n Pay- South Africa
Logistics and Trade Flow Opportunities and Challenges: Africa and Beyond
This session explored the models for identifying and overcoming the challenges of transporting a high quality product to markets- including harbors- with a specific focus on rail freight.
Marcel Biemond- Director, Mercator Novus BV- Netherlands
Jeroen Bos- Logistics Expert, Mercator Novus BV- Netherlands (Presentation)
Ulrico Davids- Agriculture & Bulk Liquids Business Unit Manager, Transnet Freight Rail- South Africa (Presentation)
Arie Hollenbach- Logistics & Transportation Consultant- South Africa
Niek Schelling- Agricultural Counsellor, Embassy of the Netherlands- Netherlands
Creating Standards Across National Produce Markets with Project Rebirth
Focusing on the major game changers taking place through regulations set forth by Project Rebirth, this session delved into maximizing the potential of these markets by reviewing the new regulations, identifying how they will affect the supply chain, and addressing how this translates to the consumer.
Rudolf Badenhorst- Marketing Manager, Potatoes South Africa- South Africa (Presentation)
Mogala Mamabolo- Director of Agricultural Marketing, National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa- South Africa
Patrick Mphahlele- Executive Director, Tshwane Fresh Produce Market- South Africa
Lizel Pretorius- Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC)- South Africa
Deon van Zyl- Managing Director, RSA Group Johannesburg- South Africa
The Health-driven Consumer: How Do You Reach Them?
Science writer Leonie Joubert, discussed how the food system is stacked against people making healthy food choices, and suggested how the fresh produce industry can lobby government and the private sector so that affordable whole foods can be within reach of all South Africans. In addition, Professor Tim Noakes discussed the content of our diet, looking at what the latest science is saying about what whole foods should be on our plates, what shouldn’t and why.
Leonie Joubert- Science Writer and Author of "The Hungry Season Feeding Southern Africa's Cities"- South Africa (Presentation)
Tim Noakes- Sport Scientist, Educator, Researcher and Author, Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA)- South Africa
Growth Markets in Africa: Tactics to Drive Sales & Win Customers
Attendees learned that we are in the midst of the largest wave of migration ever seen worldwide, where global cities are becoming more diverse than ever. Whether in search of opportunity, education or experience, information and communication technologies are making it easier than ever for people to leave their native countries and home cultures. In addition, it is becoming easier for companies to diversify their businesses and expand into overseas markets, easier for universities to partner with foreign scholars and scientists, and easier for investors to capitalize on opportunities anywhere.
Colin Coleman- Managing Director, Goldman Sachs International Incorporated in England and Wales- South Africa (Presentation)
Hannah Edinger- Head of Research and Strategy, Frontier Advisory- South Africa (Presentation)
The Value of Diversity to a Leadership Team
Creating a high functioning team does not rely solely on the talents of each individual, but on how the group works as a whole. This session touched on not only creating diversity in your team and how to address diverse thinking, but how to lead diversity for long term business growth. Attendees learned how to build a company of “choice people” from diverse backgrounds to help ensure that all team members feel welcome.
Brian V. Moore- Founder, Celebrating Humanity International (CHI) and Mthimkhulu International- South Africa (Presentation)
E-commerce and Omni-Channel Marketing- Learning from the Best in Global Markets
Technology changes how fresh produce supply chain networks market their products, and how these companies engage with consumers. In this session, attendees gained a better understanding on responding to these tech driven trends by delving into how China is implementing their e-commerce and seeing how to engage a new generation of consumers.
Elena Ozeritskaya- Customer Insight Strategist and Founder, Fresh Insight- Netherlands (Presentation)
Mabel Zhuang- PMA China Consultant- Owner, M.Z. Marketing Communications - China (Presentation)