The Green Issue

The recent allFresh Conference in Somerset West was themed “The Green Issue”. I’ve always been a staunch advocate of this conference for the fresh produce sector because it brings new ideas, interesting topics and new trends and shows us the way forward.

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The recent allFresh Conference in Somerset West was themed “The Green Issue”. I’ve always been a staunch advocate of this conference for the fresh produce sector because it brings new ideas, interesting topics and new trends and shows us the way forward.

The Green Issue was, of course, topical and speakers from around the world reminded us of the impact of global warming, rising fuel, food and other prices, environmental issues, food safety and the ever-increasing power of the consumer. Two speakers connected to the international retail trade spoke about marketing products worldwide and ethical trading, highlighting the powerful role of supermarkets in the international fresh produce trade. For the cynics who say this conference is too export-orientated, I counter that we live in a global village and what happens elsewhere eventually impacts on our local fresh produce market.

A number of speakers challenged the delegates to think “outside the box”. One of them was the keynote speaker, Clem Sunter, who offered a tantalising insight into future scenarios for SA. Sunter is well-known as the country’s number one future-scenario planner and commentator. I’m not able to mention every speaker in such little space, but another who really impressed me was independent political analyst Daniel Silke with his presentation on Chindia – China and India. He tossed out statistics on these two giants which had everyone gasping. The point he made was that these are the economic powerhouses of tomorrow and, in securing food supplies for their people, they will have a telling impact on the fresh produce sector in years to come. We ignore them at our peril.

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At a conference of this nature with about 400 people attending, networking becomes every delegate’s favourite tea-break activity. It’s impossible to put a value on networking but old acquaintances are renewed, new ones are made and while not every chat translates into business, making contacts is an excellent reason to be at these conferences. The Green Issue was brought home to all of us with emphasis on the importance of staying in touch and adapting to a changing world. Or, as motivational speaker and businessperson David Molapo put it, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying!” – Mike Cordes
Contact Mike Cordes on
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