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FPEF making South African fruit exports stronger

The Fresh Produce Exportersí Forum (FPEF) was registered in 1998 as a non-profit industry organization at the time when the South African fresh produce industry went from being regulated to being de-regulated. Its membership is voluntary and open to all companies that export fresh fruit from South Africa. The initial purpose of the forum was to help organise the transition and encourage exporters to work together as an industry. The membership has grown from 40 to 85 members who now represent almost 80% of South African fresh fruit exports.

Whilst FPEF membership is entirely voluntary, strict accreditation criteria are put in place to ensure that only competent and reliable marketing agents and grower-exporters are admitted to the Exporters' Forum. These criteria include the signing of a Code of Conduct and the submission of a Marketing Agreement. A producer trust (bank) account is also required to be opened into which all monies from oversees sales are transferred. This is done in case the exporter was to go into liquidation, and if that was to happen, the producers' monies are protected in the trust account and do not form part of the liquidated estate of the exporter. Detailed credit checks are also done on all aspiring FPEF members to ensure sound trading records exist. This whole process is done to try and ensure that members of the FPEF are reliable business people.

Women only Top of the Class training programme, jointly sponsored by Tesco and FPEF, and the winner was sent to the UK for two weeks to be taken through the Tesco system

The FPEF also runs some very good initiatives in the South African fresh fruit export sector.

Post-Harvest Innovation Programme

The PHI programme is a public-private initiative established in 2008. The FPEF secured 15 million rand from the Department of Science and Technology for the Post-Harvest Innovation Programme and funded over 20 industry projects in the last two years.  Since producer associations focus their statutory levies predominantly on pre-harvest matters, the FPEF identified the need to energize innovative attention in the post-harvest domain - from the pack house right up to the customer door. This includes innovation in the logistics chain and the cold chain. This programme has recently been renewed with a similar amount of funding for the next 3 years. A recent call for projects yielded 64 projects needing 96 million rand of funding.
More about the PHI programme

Empowerment Programmes

Small Scale Commercial Farmers

The FPEF is committed to supporting emerging growers in their quest to establish themselves as significant players in the fruit export value chain. They focus their efforts on provinces that supply a significant amount of fresh fruit to international markets especially where emerging growers benefited from land claims under the government land reform programme. Training, mentorship and linking farmers to strategic partners in commercial exports are some of the supportive activities that the FPEF is involved in. Since needs vary from province to province, training courses and support initiatives are modified accordingly.

More about Empowerment Programmes

For importers it is easy to find members of the FPEF via the website, by phone or by calling at the office. Stuart Symington, CEO of the FPEF, said that although all exporters are equally rated within the organisation, certain exporters can be recommended according to the search criteria tabled by the importer.

Stuart Symington
Tel: +27 21 526 0474
Fax: +27 21 5260479
Mob: +27 82 685 5984

Publication date: 5/19/2011
Author: Nichola Watson


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