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YOUNG and in need of hope

It’s Youth Month! Those who had the privilege of growing up on a farm will attest to the sense of freedom that comes with such an upbringing. But also, the unique set of skills that farmers’ kids are exposed to, like learning how to “read” the weather, milk a cow, harvest fruit, drive a tractor, or being exposed to certain aspects of a supply chain.

This is the level of freedom and joie de vivre that our youth deserves, as a foundation for the exciting world that still lies ahead for them. With their unique way of thinking, the youth can contribute significantly to changing the trajectory of SA – politically, economically and socially. But 46 years on from the 1976 Soweto youth uprising, the truth is, the youth of SA has mostly been dealt a completely different card. And at this stage, stronger collaboration between government and the private sector has become critical; to give this promising segment of the population the economic hupstoot that they so deserve.

So gepraat van ʼn hupstoot, die vrugtebedryf dra aansienlik by tot die opvoeding van jongmense. Selfs ook om hulle deur dinamiese beroepsgeleenthede in die bedryf te integreer. Ons jongmense is steeds relatief onbewus van die magdom geleenthede wat ‘n loopbaan in die landbou – en beslis in die vrugtebedryf – inhou. Dis júís hoekom daar soveel pogings in die bedryf aangewend word rondom bewusmaking en noue samewerking met universiteite. Die vrugtebedryf belê jaarliks miljoene in beurse om ons jeug – grootliks die minderbevoorregtes – in staat te stel om hul beroepsdrome in die sektor te verwesenlik.

Another area of strategic focus for the fruit industry of SA is trade show attendance. Industry representatives attended Fruit Logistica Berlin in April, after a 26-month break due to COVID-19. Delighted to have in-person interaction with global role-players again, they were disappointed to hear that the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) had pulled funding for the South African pavilion at the event. However, they managed to band together to raise funds for what turned out to be an eye-catching 100m² pavilion that attracted many trade leads. Kudos to all who helped pull this off, especially the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF). More about that in the foreword, as well as a related featured article.

In this edition we also showcase youth integration, discuss investment in future industry leaders, explore the false codling moth (FCM) genome, and provide guidance with regard to pre-harvest and packhouse practices.

And on Mandela Day we will, once again, have the opportunity to give in whatever way we can. The fruit industry of SA is no stranger to giving, with so many benevolent initiatives that extend way beyond this commemorative day, being driven throughout the industry.

Maar ons jongmense bly maar ʼn integrale deel van SA se toekoms, en dis tyd dat die regering dienooreenkomstig meetbare inisiatiewe daar stel om die toekoms van ons jeug te bevorder. Hulle verdien tog die ondersteuning, waarsonder Jeugmaand eenvoudig betekenisloos sou wees – eintlik meer soos ʼn klap in hul gesig.

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