potato industry
Dr Ben Pieterse.

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The Potato Industry Development Trust (PIDT) has nominated Dr Ben Pieterse as the new chairperson succeeding successful potato farmer and businessman Ernst Yzel. His nomination came into effect on 1 July 2021. Dr Pieterse’s illustrious career has spanned close to four decades as an agronomist, researcher and thought leader across various industries in the agricultural sector.

The objective of the PIDT is to receive statutory levies in terms of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, 1996 (Act 47 of 1996) and to authorise expenditure as set out in levy announcements as amended from time to time. It mainly includes the following: “basic as well as applied agricultural research, industry-related information, including market statistics, running a robust transformation programme aimed at developing commercial black producers as well as executing top-of-mind generic product promotion, market protection access and development”.

Dr Pieterse, retired since January 2021, has held senior and executive roles at Potatoes South Africa (PSA), multinational company McCain Foods (SA) as well as the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). He is currently serving as a member of PSA’s Research Committee. Dr Pieterse was awarded the Solanum Tuberosum Meritum Award for excellent performance. This is the highest accolade presented in the South African potato industry. The award is given to individuals or organisations that contribute to the success of the potato industry and strive to play a leadership role in sustainable potato production in South Africa.

Chief executive of PSA, Willie Jacobs says: “Dr Pieterse brings a wealth of experience that is highly relevant to the current work of the PIDT. He is well positioned to support PSA in its mission to provide strategic support services to a dynamic industry and catapult it from great to greater. On behalf of the National Council of PSA, I congratulate Dr Pieterse on his nomination and look forward to his guidance and leadership as the chairperson of the PIDT”.

“I have served as a Trustee of the PIDT since January 2020. Being nominated Chairperson of the PIDT is an honour and a great privilege. Enhancing the sustainability of the potato industry in South Africa is not only a passion but an ideal I am committed to achieving. I look forward to making a meaningful, visible and ground-breaking contribution in my duties as the chairperson of the PIDT,” declared Dr Pieterse. – Press release, PIDT