The Association of Greek Kiwi Fruit Producers is currently in South Africa to meet with role-players in the country as part of the European Union’s ‘Hello Kiwi’ programme to promote the importing of Greek kiwi fruit into South Africa.

The initiative was started to change the situation where South Africa exports fresh fruit to Greece, with Greece only exporting processed fruit and vegetables to South Africa. The annual visit is happening for the second time after initial contacts were made at the Hostex conference, where the Greek kiwi fruit producers met fresh fruit and vegetable buyers from major supermarkets.

“As the seasons in the two countries for growing fruit complement each other, we can cooperate to benefit both markets. The initiative is part of Greece’s roadmap for stabilising the national economy for sustainable growth,” says Galanis Vasileios from the association.

From the left are Ioannis Chatzantonakis, consul general of Greece in Johannesburg, Eleftherios Kouvaritakis, Greek ambassador to South Africa, and Apostolos Michalopoulos, counsellor for economic and commercial affairs.

Hello Kiwi dinner function

During a recent Hello Kiwi dinner held at the Radisson Blue hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, a number of guests, among them members of the association, the press and industry representatives, were welcomed by Robert Gray, director and CEO of Livewired Public Relations. This is the third year that this dinner has been presented. This year’s function was also attended by the CEO of Agbiz, John Purchase, and his wife, Este.

The opening address was given by Eleftherios Kouvaritakis, Greece’s ambassador to South Africa, after which Dessislava Choumelova, the counsellor for agriculture, climate change, health and food safety affairs of the Bulgarian Trade and Economic Section in South Africa, gave a short overview of Bulgaria’s agricultural sector.

Aris Beis, project manager at Novacert, discussed their involvement in the Hello Kiwi initiative. Members of Novacert specialise in plant protection, ecology, agricultural engineering, agricultural economics, science and food technology, microbiology and epidemiology, but also in marketing, new technologies and communication strategy. This was followed by a presentation in which Marianna Theyse discussed kiwi production, and the kiwi import and export industry. Theyse is the general manager of South Africa’s Fresh Produce Importers Association.

Lila Bruk, nutritionist from Lila Bruk & Associates, gave an insightful presentation on the health benefits of the kiwi. Kiwi fruit provides high levels of fibre, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. They are extremely high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant.

The CEO of Agbiz, John Purchase (left), also attended the function together with his wife, Este. With them are Yolandé Roodt and Lynette Louw, both from Plaas Media.

About European Kiwis

European Kiwis produced in Greece fully comply with the EU legislation’s Food Safe Regulations and are certified under the AGRO, GLOBALGAP, BRC, IFS and Nature Choice Protocols and the Quality Standards of ISO 9001, ISO 22000 and ISO 14000.

The EU established the Hello Kiwi programme for the provision and promotion of kiwi fruit in specifically the Ukraine, Belarus, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. The programme was launched in October 2015 and aims to promote kiwi fruit grown in Europe at sectorial level. It also informs targeted groups in terms of European food safety and hygiene standards, as well as the quality characteristics of European kiwis.

The kiwi fruit is known to be one of the best sources of high levels of fibre, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemical compounds produced by the plant to protect itself from viruses, fungi and pathogens, while contributing to optimal cellular function in humans. Kiwis also contain a variety of flavonoids and carotenoids, which protects human DNA, as well as high quantities of vitamin C, which is a powerful anti-oxidant and actinidain, a protein-digesting enzyme and an excellent source of potassium. Kiwi fruit produced in Europe are larger and more uniform in shape than many of those cultivated elsewhere.

For more information, contact Jodie Oliphant at email jodie@livewired.co.za. Also visit the website www.hellokiwi.eu for more information. – Lynette Louw, Plaas Media