If you are a role-player in the fruit and vegetable industry and you do not attend Fresh Connections, you will ultimately miss out on the opportunity to build relationships with local and international peers, buyers and suppliers and to connect over the most recent and relevant information.

Except for the many networking opportunities available, especially in and around the tradeshow, the conference topics are designed to enable you to make better decisions and thereby grow your business.

The Connect Local, Grow Global theme comes through strongly in the focus on the markets. Whitey Basson, former CEO of Shoprite will be giving perspective of the retail environment in Africa. After a session on understanding the African fresh produce business, a panel of local retailers will deliberate on the importance of fresh produce in retail. In a dedicated session, time will be spent to understand the unique set of different marketing channels available locally, which provides a platform to connect over the local and regional markets.

A talk on the state of the global industry will be delivered, along with valuable advice from PMA’s chief marketing officer, Lauren Scott, on influencing the consumer market. And to enable your business to grow globally, the Fresh Connections conference will accommodate buyers from new, developing markets, specifically China, to explain how you can benefit from the significant growth in demand for South African products.

Preparing the local industry for the future entails a dedicated session where Brett StClaire, former Googler and digital banker in Africa, will open our eyes on digital transformation, along with PMA’s blockchain expert, Ed Treacy, unpacking what blockchain means for the fresh produce industry. Mike Riley, CEO of Compac Sorting Equipment will join us all the way from New Zealand to put it all in context on how they adopt technology.

The Center for Growing Talent by PMA will, as before, ensure that we attract, develop and retain talent to the fresh produce industry, with a Student Career Pathways programme, a Young Professional’s breakfast and a Women’s Fresh Perspectives event and lunch. The Young Professional’s breakfast will feature Brian Coppin, CEO of Food Lovers Market, inspiring under 35-year-olds with him and his brother’s life story of small, humble beginnings, driven by determination and hard work, to deliver the Food Lovers Market chain, as we know it today. The women in our industry are invited to join a session on  worklife balance, with talent experts Michelle Moss and Annelize van Rensburg from Signium, whereafter men can join for the lunch, which will feature adv. Thuli Madonsela, on her advice and inspiration on always doing the right thing in business and in life.

See you on 15 and 16 August at the CSIR in Pretoria! Remember early bird registration closes on 18 June. Click here for more information.