Dr. André Jooste, an agricultural economist who joined Potatoes South Africa eight years ago as CEO, is leaving the organization at the end of the month for personal reasons. The chair of the Potatoes South Africa (PSA) board, JF van der Merwe, lauded him for his ‘exceptionally valuable’ contribution to the organization.
Van der Merwe said “Dr. Jooste not only succeeded in making Potatoes SA a more dynamic organization, but the rollover effect of his leadership is measurable across the potato industry and the broader agricultural sector. He played a big role in regulations that were amended during his term for the benefit of the potato industry.”
Commentators have mentioned Dr. Jooste’s holistic approach to potatoes within a larger vegetable value chain and Potatoes South Africa’s development into one of the country’s foremost production organizations.
Dr. Jooste notes that there were several changes to the trading environment during his tenure, necessitating a recalibration of how the domestic industry protects itself against European processed potato imports, while simultaneously growing its own export footprint.
According to Dr. Jooste, “the potato industry consists of resilient producers who ground their operations in extremely thorough planning and who approach each day strategically. Potato growers are directly involved in their marketing and their branding, across multiple marketing channels, which necessitate a deep understanding of their clients.”
During his term, PSA’s transformation policy shifted from a primary focus on the number of black farmers to the number of hectares under their production.
Partnerships with established potato farmers and other value chain stakeholders, including mentorship programs, are of cardinal importance, Jooste explains. “I must again reiterate the importance of South Africa’s potato producers. They have been able to supply the country with sufficient potatoes each year at affordable prices, hence playing their rightful role in ensuring a food-secure nation.”
Various people in the South African fresh produce industry have expressed their hope that his admired expertise will not be lost to the industry.
The appointment process for a new chief executive officer has commenced.
Sources: FreshPlaza | Potatoes South Africa via PotatoPro