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Media Statements

SA Table Grapes Breeding Programme Receives Boost with a New Red Seedless Variety

2018-02-08
 
The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), in collaboration with Infruitec-Nietvoorbij and Culdevco, have launched a new red seedless table grape variety called Joybells at the Fruit Logistica Berlin Trade Fair in Germany.

Joybells was developed from an open-pollinated variety, bred by renowned South African breeder, Phyllis Burger of the ARC based in Stellenbosch.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of SATI, Mr Willem Bestbier, said the unique grape variety brings significant benefits such as profitability and well-adapted cultivars to the South African table grape industry. This will enable it to hold its own in the highly competitive international trade environment.

“As the industry we firmly believe that South Africa’s competitive edge in the market is technology-driven and there is nothing better than a home-made success story, this time in the form of an exciting new grape variety,” added Bestbier.

According to the Senior Research Manager at the ARC, Professor Bongani Ndima, the grape industry is worth billions of rands to the South African economy. Therefore, it is imperative for the council and industry to partner in research and innovation.

“It took us fifteen years to get to this launch.  The growers back home are eager to build on this new success and that is why we are receiving a vote of confidence from them. We are looking forward to positive contribution throughout the value-chain as the seedless red grape has already received positive reviews from prominent global traders,” said Ndima.

Speaking at the same launch, the Director of Export Promotion at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Luke Govender said with the launch of a proudly South African grape type, the role of innovation is crucial in that it creates new competitive and comparative advantages as well as opportunities for economic growth in South Africa.

“With this particular world-class research and development, we as policymakers have an opportunity and the responsibility to take on a more active role in steering innovation to address socio-economic challenges through export-oriented employment. The South African owned flagship grape cultivar will reposition the country as an innovator that will enhance diversified and value-added exports and attract further foreign direct investment,” said Govender.


From Left: Mr Luke Govender of the dti, CEO of SA Fresh Produce Exporters Forum, Anton Kruger, General Manager of Culdevco, Dr Leon Von Mollendorff, Ms Phyllis Burger and Professor Bongani Ndima of ARC, and CEO of SATI, Mr Willem Bestbier

Enquiries:
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
E-mail: MSMedupe@thedti.gov.za
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry