The Fruit Logistica show in Berlin once again saw record breaking attendance figures with a sharp rise in both visitor and exhibitor numbers. Held from 4-6 February 2015, the event welcomed 2 750 exhibitors from 83 countries, 150 more exhibitors than last year. In addition, over 60 000 trade visitors from more than 130 countries were in attendance. With 90% of exhibitors and 80% of visitors coming from outside Germany, the event serves as an unparalleled international marketplace and trading platform for the industry.

South Africa’s stand (over 200 m2), organised by the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) and funded by dti, provides South African exporters with the opportunity to market their services to international buyers hungry for South African produce. In addition it provides the perfect meeting place for industry stakeholders to come together and discuss pertinent issues, often not possible on South African soil.

Lucien Jansen (GM: Corporate Affairs), Sinovuyo Matai (GM: Statutory Operations North), Cyril Julius (Acting CEO), Sarel van Wyk (GM: Statutory Operations South), and Tina-Louise Rabie (Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator) were fortunate enough to represent the PPECB at the event. Apart from client engagements, the PPECB also acted as hosts at the South African stand by welcoming visitors and facilitating interactions with exporters. This gave the PPECB the opportunity to meet a host of clients and stakeholders and explain the vital role our organisation plays in the export value chain. The PPECB delegation further cemented relationships with international counterparts (the likes of KCB, BLE and Turkey) by chairing an annual international collaborative forum gathering.

Following on from the trend noticed at last year’s Asia Fruit Logistica numerous requests were again received for South African citrus. This indicates that South African citrus is still high in demand, in particular lemons. Apples and grapes were also highly sought after with queues of buyers lining the stand to meet with exporters.

The event provides a key opportunity to build and promote the PPECB brand to both the local and international market and to engage with exporters and receive feedback on the perception of the PPECB in the industry. By working hand-in-hand with FPEF throughout the event, the PPECB successfully demonstrates to the industry the well functioning relationships it has established with stakeholder entities and our determination to work as an enabler to the market. As stated by Sarel van Wyk, “Stakeholders find comfort with our exposure to the complexity of world trading and the understanding of their working environment. Trading in a world of oversupply, competition between commodities and between countries adds a huge dimension of complexity and uncertainty. The attendance of Fruit Logistica definitely contributes to our understanding of the bigger picture in which South Africa has to compete.”

The PPECB’s presence at these exhibitions cannot be overemphasized. Apart from providing answers to burning questions from exporters, it also creates a platform for the PPECB to be more visible and establish a stronger relationship with international and South African stakeholders.