Forging our future: Insights from KAL's sponsored delegates at CGA Summit
Posted on: 31 July 2023
KAL recently sponsored two new-generation citrus growers and two agri-economics students to attend the annual Citrus Growers’ Association Summit held in Gqeberha where the theme for 2023 was "Respecting our roots, forging our future".
Delegates included producers, researchers, government representatives and key
stakeholders across the citrus value chain with a wealth of knowledge about the citrus industry, from whom the four young leaders could learn.
The summit offered a unique educational experience for the young leaders, broadening their knowledge base, expanding their network and exposing them to the realities of the citrus industry.
“By providing financial support for their participation in this industry-specific event, KAL is actively investing in the educational development of new industry leaders,” says Barend Sulvester: Senior Manager, Sustainability.
“The empowerment of a new generation of growers remains a key focus for KAL. We are grateful for the impact the summit had on our sponsored delegates, and we hope the lessons they learnt will help them in their professional growth.”
The students shared some of their experiences and key take-outs with us:
I feel truly honoured that I was able to attend the CGA Summit. It is an event that every individual interested in the citrus field should attend because it sharpens the mind. Even though South Africa's citrus industry is the world's second-largest fresh citrus exporter and a significant agricultural contributor, access to new markets is critical to the industry's long-term viability. I learnt there is always room for growth. I also learnt about farmers offering mentorship to students pursuing agricultural qualifications. You must put yourself out there to grab the opportunities that are made available by industry leaders.
The event was packed with growers and packhouse agents, discussing strategies in the pipeline to navigate a challenging 2022/2023 season. I learnt a lot about the recent EU regulatory changes, which are affecting the whole value chain, especially the growers on the ground.
It was the first Summit that I ever attended. It was a great experience; I met great people from the industry and learnt a lot from my peers. We went and are still going through a tough season, and the motivational speakers inspired us to return to our teams with some strong words of wisdom. A key take-out for me is to continue learning everything there is to learn within the industry, especially what can be done to make your business more profitable. We also learnt a great deal about global industry standards and how to navigate through difficult times. There was much positive energy despite the setbacks, and industry leaders were very optimistic about the future.
What struck me the most is that so many industry role players in this large industry came together in one room to figure out the way forward. I learnt about the challenges the industry faces at different nodes of the value chain, possible solutions to these problems, and the research and strategic management that goes into developing and implementing these solutions. It's a competitive and complex sector and industry leaders must continue to drive change, even when things are going well!