South Africa – The South African deciduous fruit industry presented its awards for outstanding performance in agriculture at the 43rd annual gala evening on 14 September 2018. Deciduous fruit includes apples, pears, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums and prunes, cherries, table grapes and dried grapes – grown mainly in the Western Cape. The deciduous fruit industry survived a challenging season which makes the positive commitment and perseverance of agriculturists in this trying time especially worthy.
Four people received awards for outstanding performance working on deciduous fruit farms specifically and three for their direct and indirect contribution to the industry. Buks Nel, New Variety Expert at Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, received the Innovation award for his long-standing technical contribution to the deciduous fruit industry; his astonishing entomological knowledge; his passion for fruit varieties and for the discovery of Bigbucks/Flash Gala apples.
el loves to share his exceptional knowledge of the life cycle of pests and diseases in the deciduous fruit industry with producers. And is the go-to-person when advice is needed. He also authored two books for the industry: Deciduous Fruits and Vines – Pests and Diseases and Their Control; and with Henk Griessel, Tru-Cape’s Quality Assurance Manager co-authored Apples in the Early Days at the Cape. Nel also discovered the variety clone in the Gala apple family, Bigbucks.
In 2017, the deciduous fruit industry included 2 231 producers with a total turnover of R12,35 billion per annum. In terms of world production, South Africa ranked in the top ten for pears, in the top twenty for apples, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums, and 64th for cherries. The deciduous fruit industry currently produces fruit on 79 912 hectares and ensures employment to 1.34 people per hectare.
Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing Managing Director Roelf Pienaar said that as the largest exporter of South African apples and pears having someone of Nel’s skills and breadth of experience made a material difference to Tru-Cape’s position as the market leader. “Everyone in the Tru-Cape family is thrilled at the news that Buks is as loved and appreciated by the industry as a whole as he is by all of us here.”