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21 YEARS and now we’re here

Hoe bring mens behoorlik hulde aan ‘n tydskrif wat die vlagskippublikasie is van ‘n bedryf wat terugdateer na 1841 (toe SA volgens die Perishable Products Export Control Board vir die eerste keer vrugte eksperimenteel uitgevoer het)?

Ek reken jy begin deur aan die mense erkenning te gee.

Maar eers ‘n bietjie geskiedenis. In die 1950’s het die Sagtevrugteraad Die Sagtevrugteboer bekendgestel. Met deregulering in 1997 het die Sagtevrugteprodusentetrust toe die koördineerdersrol vir die sagtevrugtebedryf oorgeneem, en die SA Vrugtejoernaal is in Junie 2002 geloods. Dié Trust het toe in 2007 sy naam na Hortgro Services verander (wat in 2013 Hortgro geword het). Hortgro speel tot vandag toe ’n kardinale rol in die bestuur van die SA Vrugtejoernaal.

Ons is dus verheug om vanjaar saam met ons lesers die mondigwording van dié kernpublikasie van die vrugtebedryf te vier. There are so many people to acknowledge when it comes to celebrating the longevity and success of the SA Fruit Journal (SAFJ) – a task I can hardly do justice.

I was delighted to track down former editors for a “throwback”. Hanno van Niekerk was editor of The Deciduous Fruit Grower from 1998 – 2000. He still cherishes fond memories of the salt-of-the-earth people he met during his tenure. In 2001 Porchia Adams joined the then Deciduous Fruit Producers’ Trust as communications offi cer, with The Deciduous Fruit Grower editorial duties as part of her portfolio.

When it was launched the next year, her role migrated to the SAFJ. Porchia still lauds the on-going support of industry partners during those fl edgling years. She was succeeded by Maryke Visagie (2002 – 2005), joining the SAFJ family as a rookie journalist who learnt fast and promptly started building networks. Maryke relishes memories of representing the industry on overseas trips to Fruit Logistica in Berlin, gaining immense insight. When Christa Haasbroek took over the editorial reigns, she made good work of cementing the building blocks that had been laid. Sadly, she passed away in 2018, leaving big shoes to fill. I came on board as interim editor in the same year and was appointed full-time one year later, and it’s been an enlightening journey.

But a publication needs design for that vital aesthetic appeal and engagement. Colleen Goosen tirelessly applied her creative skills to the SAFJ, navigating a rather laborious, manual production process with fl air. Megan Merifi eld joined in 2020. At a time of strategic redirection, she injected new vigour into the SAFJ aesthetic, which continues to be well received.

Complementing the essential skills required to make a fl agship publication tick is the beady eye of Sub-editor Gerrit Rautenbach. And helping to keep the fiscal fires burning since 2008 is Sales Manager Ignatius Vlok.

Finally, huge kudos to Anton Rabe, who saw the SAFJ (and The Deciduous Fruit Grower) through various challenges and victories; and to Elise-Marie Steenkamp for jumping in to help when Christa had fallen ill.

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