Attendance to one of the hottest events on the annual agricultural calendar will this year be free, confirms the organisers of the Fresh Connections: Southern Africa conference and trade show.
While tickets were, in the past, up to R7 000 each and only available on a first-come, first-served basis, this year’s event will not only be held virtually, but also free of charge. The event is hosted by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA).
“The benefit is exposure to the whole range of products in the fresh produce value channels, from the farm level to the retail and foodservice levelS.” – Tommie van Zyl
Every year, stakeholders from across the entire fresh produce supply chain look forward to Fresh Connections, known for the A-list speakers it attracts. Last year former Springbok rugby player Joel Stransky and Jack Vera, the former agricultural attaché at the Embassy of the Netherlands in South Africa, were on the podium.
“While we will not be meeting in-person this year, we can assure you that our virtual event will echo the same great content and energy as in the past decade,” says Lianne Jones, country manager for PMA in South Africa.
The event is scheduled for 18 to 20 August 2020, and virtual attendees can look forward to the latest trends in the fresh produce industry. Registrations are fast rolling in from, among others, growers, buyers, sellers, exporters, retailers and input suppliers.
Jones says, “The programme is designed to bring attendees together in the comfort of their own space and will feature educational sessions, inspirational talks, workshops and international sourcing meetings. In a PMA members-only session, a prominent chef will guide participants to cook an amazing meal from a box, while sharing culinary insights. This session will allow time for fun, team engagement and making new connections along the way.”
PMA promises top speakers, hot topics
Food For Mzansi is on board as an official media partner for this year’s Fresh Connections: Southern Africa conference and trade show. Session topics include the PMA State of the Produce Industry, consumer and retail trends and produce to boost physical and mental wellbeing during stressful times.
Attendees can also look forward to workshops on making your business sustainable, as well as agile supply chain practices and strategies for the African landscape. Each day’s programme will range between 90 minutes to 120 minutes, with enough time for attendees to stretch their legs and connect with other participants between sessions.
Fresh Connections: Southern Africa has been hosted by PMA since 2010. Many delegates have not missed an annual conference. Jaco Oosthuizen, CEO of RSA Group and vice-chairperson of PMA Southern Africa, says over the past decade, Fresh Connections provided the RSA Group the opportunity to reconnect with customers and partners, and to meet new prospects.
“This is the key marketing event on our calendar, and we focus a number of our initiatives around it. It is also an opportunity to keep up to date with industry developments. There is always something new to learn,” he says. “Personally, I am grateful for the opportunity the event has been provided me to walk amongst industry legends and having the opportunity to hear their insights into the industry.”
Tommie Van Zyl, the CEO of ZZ2, says the value of Fresh Connections is its international focus on fresh produce production, packaging, logistics, technology, food safety and marketing in a local setting.
“The benefit … (is) exposure to the whole range of products in the fresh produce industry value channels, from the farm level to the retail and foodservice level. This enabled the expansion of my business to relevant and valuable product lines whilst understanding the marketability of these products internationally.”
Register now to secure your virtual seat
Attendance is free, but PMA recommends that you register well in advance to make use of the Fresh Connections: Southern Africa conference app to connect and participate with other attendees in the run-up to the event. For more information visit the official website or stay tuned to Food For Mzansi for weekly updates about the upcoming event.