The African continent is full of resources and opportunities, and the economic landscape in Southern Africa is showing great promise. New industries are emerging, existing ones are growing stronger and entrepreneurship is flourishing. What does this mean for the produce industry? How can the supply chain take advantage of the benefits associated with such growth?

“The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) came into force on 30 May 2019. While a lot of details are still pending, the topic needs to be addressed and the marketplace understood,” says Lindie Stroebel, general manager of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) for Southern Africa.

Opportunity through finance

“The 9th PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show is taking place on 30 and 31 July 2019 at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. It will dedicate a session to the opportunities and challenges of doing business on the African continent.

“This session, sponsored by FNB Agriculture, will provide a glimpse into this economic wheelhouse and highlight the opportunities for the fresh produce industry,” says Stroebel.

This is the second consecutive year that FNB Agriculture is sponsoring the Africa session at the event. Speakers include Dawie Maree of FNB Agriculture, Dr Rutendo Hwindingwi of Deloitte, and Sean Moolenschot of Savenda Global Capital Partners.

Dawie Maree, FNB Agriculture’s head of communication and marketing.

“Africa’s agricultural potential can only be unlocked by the availability and affordability of adequate levels of finance across the entire value chain. This requires a comprehensive approach,” says Maree, FNB Agriculture’s head of communication and marketing.

“An assessment of the value chain must be conducted to establish the key areas where finance will add the most value. Understanding the risks, growth potential and where to most effectively invest in the value chain, are key success factors that underpin FNB’s strategy in unlocking value in Africa’s agriculture.” 

Fresh produce markets in Africa

Last year’s conference highlighted the potential for fresh fruit and vegetables in Zambia. Savenda Global Capital Partners seized the opportunity and within twelve months established the ZAMBIAFresh Lusaka Market. 

“We are delighted to announce the launch of ZAMBIAFresh Lusaka Market. It is the first commission agent and formal fresh produce market in Zambia, and the rest of Africa,” says Moolenschot, CEO of Savenda Global Capital Partners.

“Our market offers a new and distinctive fresh food hub experience. It also creates a unique market model, providing sustainable solutions to the fragmented small-scale horticultural sector in Africa. Through innovative partnerships and an end-to-end approach we have created version 2.0 for fresh produce markets in Africa.”

The African business landscape

Known as the ‘African realist’ Dr Hwindingwi, associate director at Deloitte, will explain how to successfully navigate the African business landscape.

Dr Rutendo Hwindingwi, associate director at Deloitte South Africa.

“There is an African proverb that says ‘the jungle is stronger than the elephant’. In other words, understanding the territory and adjusting your strategy to adapt to it is key for any business wanting to survive in any environment.

“The African business jungle has changed over the years with the continued increase in penetration levels of technology through the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Like all industries, innovation has also disrupted the agricultural industry,” he explains.

Learning from established retailers

Johan van Deventer, managing director at Freshmark, a division of Shoprite Checkers, will offer insights on how it established itself as the biggest retailer in Africa.

“PMA Fresh Connections provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the entire fresh produce value chain to learn from the most knowledgeable people about doing business across our amazing continent,” Stroebel concludes. – Press release, PMA

For more information and to register as an attendee, visit