The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) exists to bring our industry together to create a vibrant future for all. They have a fresh outlook on fresh produce, believing it can help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. They are the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain, and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support.
If you have a place in the fresh produce and floral industry, you have a place in IFPA. They are here to grow your prosperity. They do that by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to take action with purpose and confidence.
Each month, we will be focusing on a major area of Southern African fresh produce and discussing that all with the country’s key industry experts so we can learn and appreciate fantastic Fresh Produce for the area!
For March, we are taking a deep dive into the hugely innovative and ever moving world of AgTech!
If you just take the USA alone, when the nation was formed some 240 years ago, farming was the economy’s primary driver. By 1870, nearly half of the employed population held jobs in agriculture. Today, it’s a $3 + trillion industry – but only 2% of Americans hold a farm-oriented job.
This is, in many ways, thanks to technology. Tractors and other automation advances in the 20th century let large farms shift management to only a handful of people. But this, paradoxically, has also slowed things down in the 21st. With only a few people working every farm, there’s not a lot of time – or incentive – to innovate.
It has been often stated that you only get 40 attempts at farming. From your 20’s to your 60’s, you get 40 seasons. But in AgTech, you get 40 attempts in a week!
But even farmland isn’t immune to the information revolution. Today, there are hundreds of agriculture tech startups around the world, and some experts say the situation reminds them of the early days of the internet: There’s a lot of activity in agriculture, but no clear winners yet – it’s hard to say who might become the Facebook or Amazon of the scene. Couple that with climate change pressures, the fact that two billion more people will live on this planet by 2050, and that just 40% of the world’s land is available to grow crops, and you have yourself a market ripe for innovation — and big money.
Joining us will be:
Alastair Smith. Alastair works for KHULA! App where he is the Executive Head, Fresh Produce Market Place. He graduated with a B.Agric Admin from Stellenbosch University as well as a Certificate in Business Functions from Rhodes Business School. He has also completed the Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Executive Program through the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability.
With a range of varied Agri Business experience, Alastair sees himself as a positive disruptor with over 19 years of business management experience in supply chain in agri-business, retail, FMCG and most recently, in the tech start-up environment.
Martin Jensen. Martin currently Leads the IT Team at ZZ2 who are tasked with the ambitious project of digitising and optimising processes within the ZZ2 ecosystem.
He holds a BSc. IT (Hons) Degree from the University of Johannesburg and in a career spanning 20 years, Martin has held positions at large corporations such as Shoprite and Imperial Logistics as well as numerous entrepreneurial ventures including start-ups. He has held various positions in the IT & Supply Chain space in different industries including retail, logistics, aquaculture and agriculture.
Greg Whitaker. Greg was born in Polokwane, Limpopo and grew up on a farm outside Louis Trichardt, before moving to Pretoria for his high school years. After matriculating, Greg studied at Stellenbosch University and then moved to Johannesburg in 2012 where he worked in the logistics industry. Greg founded AgrigateOne in 2018 where he presently works as the CEO.