In response to the Covid-19 international travel bans, South African media company Lucentlands Media developed an innovative method to livestream visits to vineyards, orchards and packhouses to international audiences, a service they are expanding to international clients.
Livestream broadcasting from South African vineyards, orchards and packhouses was developed in response to a request from the Chinese government.
During new fruit supplier registrations for China an inspection of the relevant vineyard or orchard and packhouse is required, but Chinese inspectors were unable to travel to South Africa.
As this had never been done before, the South African fruit industry sought a service provider to assist them. Lucentlands Media, a dedicated specialist media company that only works in agriculture, responded to this request and has undertaken this important responsibility successfully on behalf of the South African fresh produce sector for fruit industry bodies SATI, Hortgro, CGA and SAAGA.
“As China is one of the biggest markets for South Africa fruit, successful implementation of these inspections is a massive responsibility,” explains Dewald Kirsten of Lucentlands Media. “Many of the locations where we have been required to do these inspections have marginal cellular coverage, so finding innovative ways of ensuring that we maintain the broadcast signal has certainly kept us on our toes. Fortunately,” he remarks, “we have very experienced broadcast specialists in our team, and we have made it work every time.”
Livestreaming a virtual packhouse inspection (photos supplied by Lucentlands Media)
To facilitate communication between South African and Chinese clients, Lucentlands Media provides the service of a highly skilled simultaneous English-Mandarin translator.
During 2021 and 2022, Lucentlands completed twenty-five inspections across the country on behalf of the table grape, apple and pear and citrus industries for market access to China, as well as one avocado cold sterilisation inspection for the Japanese market.
This form of presentation via livestream broadcast saves on international travel costs with an associated reduction in the carbon footprint, and this way of doing things is gaining popularity within the sector.
According to Louise Brodie of Lucentlands Media, the company has gained invaluable experience through their in-field working relationship with the fresh produce industries.
She adds that they have also recently started to provide their services to international clients.
“This service could be of huge value to the fresh produce and the broader agriculture industries, not just on an inspection level, but in a marketing level as well. Now the whole farming operation can be reached, where in the past it could have been too expensive for a grower to travel with his whole team of managers to an event, or it was not a great time, be it harvest or packing season and so on.
Now the whole team can partake remotely from the comfort of their boardroom and experience it just like as if they were there, they can even ask questions,” she says.
“And best of all, it can be rewatched at a later stage in case they would need to get the info again.”
“Covid and the current cost of travel has taught us to work smarter, and now that everyone is used to Zoom and Teams and meeting virtually, we must harness the power of these platforms and use it to extend the reach of the classic in-person event,” Kirsten observes.
"The fact that we are a dedicated specialist media company that only works in agriculture is quite unique."
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