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SA Fruit Industry Grows Stronger With The Appointment Of Culdevco’s New GM

Fresh energy flourishes in the corridors and offices of Culdevco as Mishkaat Anderson is appointed as the company’s new General Manager in Fleurbaix, Stellenbosch.

Anderson follows in the footsteps of Dr Leon von Mollendorff who retired from Culdevco after 16 years. Von Mollendorff founded the company in 2006 and has left behind a strong legacy in the SA fruit sector, plus a highly competent team for Anderson to steer.

SA fruit industry growing internationally

Culdevco’s main objective is to identify, market and commercialise profitable Agricultural Research Council (ARC) bred varieties for the South African deciduous fruit producers and Culdevco licensees abroad. 

Since 2006, Culdevco and the ARC have an exclusive deciduous fruit license agreement to market and commercialise most of their apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot, table grape and dried grapes in South Africa, and in other specific countries of the world. All ARC deciduous fruit varieties were bred in South Africa.

Currently Culdevco is working on the evaluation of several unique and exciting deciduous fruit varieties that will be commercialised within the next five years. 

New GM brings extensive managerial experience

Coming from a 15-year managerial background in FMCG, Anderson has worked in a variety of industries, including wine, plastics, clothing, construction, and chocolates.

Speaking about her motivation for applying for the position, Anderson says: “I was interested in Culdevco due to the scope of my profile as a GM and the opportunity to learn about something new in one of the most dominant sectors in South Africa – the fruit industry.”

Boland blood

Anderson is a true Bolander who was born in Wellington and schooled in Paarl graduating from Stellenbosch University with a BSc degree. She also holds a postgraduate degree in industrial engineering and since then, has worked in a broad spectrum of consumer goods industries.

“FMCG is a hard core and labour intensive industry for a woman because of the 24/7 operational and availability demands that it has,” says Anderson. “But ultimately, they all need the same values to deliver the goods: communication, trust and respect.

“I’m passionate about everything I do and love interacting with people. One needs to cultivate respect in everything one does. It’s one of the most important pillars for all relationships,” she says.

Challenges to the economy

“We have learned a lot from last year,” says Anderson, “in particular about mitigating risk in the supply chain as we have seen how logistics can impact the entire economy. Our farmers and producers have had to handle spiking input costs in terms of fertilisers, transport and fuel, plus deal with unpredictable weather patterns that have had a huge impact on the fruit in some parts of SA – 2022 was a tough year globally.

“However, the biggest advantage that South African fruit growers have, is that they are very agile and resilient, even in tough times. I am optimistic about our future. Our cultivars are locally bred and well-adaptable to the South African climate conditions. This does give us a competitive edge in the international market especially as global warming start to impact fruit industries worldwide,” she says.

SA fruit exports projected to increase 

Culdevco has a dominating presence in the competitive South African fruit export market and projected growth from its cultivars is substantial.

“We focus on giving our growers as many export opportunities as we can. We enjoy the most amazing fruit in this country and we need to give the world what we enjoy,” Anderson concludes.  

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