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Stephanie van der Walt – International Fresh Produce Association:

Annual IFPA Conference: Every session aims to be a dialogue

From August 1 to 3, leaders from every segment of the produce supply chain will convene at Cape Town's Century City conference center for the International Fresh Produce Association's Southern Africa Conference, the largest fresh produce conference and trade show in the region.

IFPA's country manager for Southern Africa, Stephanie van der Walt, says she envisages a conference with an audience that brings their points to the agenda right there, in a much more interactive conference format than hitherto.

"The program is well thought through, and every session will offer strategic value and can lead attendees to solutions to current problems," Stephanie notes.

Preceding executive leadership summit
On August 1, the conference kicks off with the executive leadership summit, where IFPA Southern Africa Country Council members and thought leaders from academia and organized agriculture have the opportunity to engage directly with IFPA.

Present at the executive leadership summit will be Cathy Burns, IFPA CEO, Robert Guenther (chief public policy officer and head of advocacy; right), and Tamara Muruetagoiena (director of sustainability and chair of the Consumer Goods Forum SSCI Environmental Working Group).

Des Muller of NuEnergy Development, who impressed with his presentation on South Africa's electricity system at an IFPA Fresh Solutions event earlier this year, will also be present.

Bruce Whitfield will dig into the future of the fresh produce industry
On Wednesday, August 2, IFPA CEO Cathy Burns will open the conference with her always lively state of the fresh produce industry overview, an insider's view into how the boundaries are pushed across the world.

Bruce Whitfield, a well-known radio journalist and author, will lead a panel of industry representatives in a discussion themed: 'Shaping the future of our industry: Industry perspectives on current issues.'

Pieter le Roux, group managing director of Wauko, chief sponsor of the 2023 IFPA conference in Cape Town, with Sean Tweedie, the financial institution's treasury managing director

The panel includes Tommie van Zyl, chief executive director of ZZ2, Paulina Theologou-Criticos, chief executive director of Westfalia Fruit for the EMEA Region, Charl du Bois, commercial head of Capespan, and Tamara Muruetagoiena of IFPA.

Global trends and African strategies for optimizing fresh produce logistics
"Logistics can make or break a company these days," Stephanie remarks. To that end, experts from Imperial Clearing and Logistics will explain the flow of local logistics and some alternatives to local supply chains that have recently emerged.

"Our aim with the 2023 Conference is to highlight Southern African challenges with a focus on solutions. Logistics is a crucial component of the fresh produce supply chain and has had a major impact in recent years. This session aims to provide an overview of the current state of fresh produce movement globally and then position Southern Africa within that context, using insights from the Port of Maputo."

Women's Fresh Perspectives Breakfast
During a seated breakfast on August 3, a mix of industry newcomers and experienced role players will enjoy the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences.

Cathy Burns will moderate a panel with thought leaders discussing how they overcame challenges, built support systems, and strive to be better.

Panelists include Paulina Theologou-Criticos, who is Westfalia's chief executive director in the EMEA, Mbali Nwoko (chief executive director of Green Terrace; right), and Marianna du Plessis (director at AgriNetwork-Consult).

Stephanie adds that part of her vision in her role as IFPA country manager includes providing women with a network of career-building opportunities. IFPA's network can pave the way.

How global supply chain disruptions are addressed
Thursday morning, Robert Guenther, chief public policy officer and IFPA representative on the Global Fresh Produce coalition steering committee will lead an interactive discussion focusing on the challenges the Global Produce Coalition, which was formed to address global supply chain disruptions for fresh produce production and trade (in particular increasing costs).

This has led to significant concerns about the economic model of the sector and its capacity to provide cost-effective fresh fruit and vegetables to support food security and health.

Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2023
The conference's final session will focus on the top 10 global consumer trends for 2023, as explained by Rubab Abdoolla (right), a Euromonitor consultant.

She will explain how to use consumer trends analysis to stay competitive and grow sales in the year ahead and beyond.

"By exploring these trends, you can determine which specific trends impact your categories, understand what is happening, and get inspired by how businesses/brands respond," IFPA says.

IFPA Southern Africa would like to thank their Gold Sponsor, Wauko, Silver Sponsor, CHEP, as well as our other key sponsors, which are to date Capespan, Cape Town Market, Food Lover's Market, PPECB, Prophet, Producer Ally, RSA Group, Standard Bank, The Fruit Farm Group South Africa and ZZ2.

At last year's conference: Cisca van Wyk of FVC, Bianca Nel, Vito Polero, Rupert Stoop, and Paul Ranch of Food Lovers Market with Trevor Dukes, CEO of The Fruit Farm Group South Africa, and Demetri Geffley of Food Lovers Market

"Every session at this year's conference aims to be a dialogue. There are inefficiencies, and we're here to help the industry solve its current problems," Stephanie concludes.

For more information and to register, visit our website at

For questions about the event, contact Stephanie Van Der Walt at e-mail: [email protected].