The yearly conference of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) “Fresh Connections” was held on 16 and 17 August at the Cape Town International Conventional Centre, South Africa. PMA is an important network meeting for fresh food producers and traders
A Dutch business delegation of 10 companies and institutions participated in the conference. On 17th August the delegation had a two hour workshop at which presentations and discussions on Dutch technologies on Climate Smart Agriculture were made.
The Dutch delegation’s program, also included a field visit to fruit and lettuce farms in the Western Cape Province. Demonstrations and presentations at these farms showed that the farmers had already started benefiting from latest Dutch technologies on Climate Change adaptation practices.
At Goosen fruit Farms in Wolseley a farmer shared information about how they have managed to increase water management efficiency to up to 10% through the use of the weather information internet based portal Fruitlook developed by Dutch company, eLeaf and funded by the Western Cape Provincial Department of Agriculture.
The Embassy had a pavilion at which almost all the Dutch companies represented during the mission exhibited promotional materials. it was visited by more than 100 conference participants during the two days of the show. Random information sessions were conducted by the Dutch companies.
During the two hour workshop on 17 August Dutch expert Aart van den Bos (contracted by the Embassy to perform a study on the uptake of Climate Smart technologies in South Africa) presented preliminary findings on the needs in South Africa and possible solutions. Four companies presented their contributions to climate smart solutions, amongst which where start-ups SI Technologies and SunCooler. A booklet and USB stick was distributed with contributions from 25 Dutch Companies (available at the Embassy).
Alongside the PMA proceedings, the Embassy organized matchmaking meetings between the Dutch delegates and South Africa companies. This was organized in collaboration with the Southern African – Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (SANEC). The delegation commented that the matchmaking sessions enriched their experience and benefits from the mission. Concrete business to business linkages were expressed by the Dutch companies as one of the key benefits which will help the Dutch companies to strengthen and expand their businesses.
As a result of the conference, the represented Dutch companies were able to understand the general opportunities for Climate Smart Agricultural technologies in South Africa. All the Dutch companies during the mission indicated that such an understanding, coupled with the match-making meetings they had, have created a strong foundation for investments and collaboration with their counterparts in South Africa. Furthermore, the Dutch Embassy was able to strengthen its relations with the PMA, the Dutch Companies and various stakeholders in South Africa.
In general, the conference was a great opportunity for the Embassy to explore new avenues for the implementation of its bilateral relations with the South Africa government