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South African Summer Citrus & Seald Sweet Mentor South Africa University Students

PMA Foundation for Industry Talent’s Career Pathways Program

Philadelphia, Pa., November 13, 2013 – South Africa’s Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum (WCCPF) and Seald Sweet International partnered to provide mentoring, career counseling, and professional connections to students from two South African universities.

Suhanra Conradie, chief executive officer of the WCCPF and Steve Tursi, vice president, business development of Seald Sweet International are serving as part of the annual Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Foundation for Industry Talent Pack Family Career Pathways Program. The students visited the U.S. and attended PMA’s annual Fresh Summit in New Orleans, La. (summercitrus.com ) (sealdsweet.com

The WCCPF is a consortium of 230 South African Citrus growers exporting summer citrus to the United States; Seald Sweet International, part of the Univeg group, is among the largest importers of South African citrus to the U.S. from June through October.

“While both Steve and I have served as mentors previously, this is the first time we have both been paired with students from South Africa,” said Ms. Conradie. “For me, it is an honor to help students develop their connections in the agricultural and fresh produce industries. Our students are our nation’s future and we must help them develop so we can collectively continue to contribute on a global level.”         

Mr. Abdul Kareem Abderoof, a senior studying Soil Science & Horticulture will graduate next year from the University of Stellenbosch. Ms. Tineil Hurter will graduate this year from the University of Pretoria with a degree in Horticultural Economics.

“Seald Sweet and South African Summer Citrus have long been partners to bring the citrus to the U.S.,” said Mr. Tursi. “It is exciting to hear the students’ enthusiasm and hopes for themselves and their country, and providing connections and counsel on how to achieve their goals. I expect to see them in future having created well-established careers.”

While meeting first in New Orleans, the students and their mentors remain in contact after returning to their universities. Both Ms. Conradie and Mr.Tursi have arranged for the students to connect with various professionals in the produce and agricultural industries in South Africa and will be available as they students complete their degree programs.

Fresh Summit, the industry’s annual trade show, draws industry leaders from around the world.  In its 10th year, the Pack Family Career Pathways Program is designed to attract and educate college students who are interested in the fresh produce industry.  This year, 41 students and 13 faculty members from 13 universities from around the country and world participated in the program. They receive an industry orientation and mentor, who provide networking opportunities, and first-hand insights and knowledge about the fresh produce industry.

The South African citrus sold in the United States comes primarily from the region near Citrusdal about two hours northwest of Cape Town, the Northern Cape near Kimberly, and the northwest along the Orange River, near Upington.

The WCCPF facilitates logistical, marketing and sales support coordination of products for its members.  Its mission is to maintain and expand its role as the preferred supplier in the U.S. and throughout the world, and continue to be a reliable supplier of safe summer citrus for the U.S. and all global markets.

Seald Sweet International began in 1909 as the grower-owned cooperative, Florida Citrus Exchange, and has progressed through the century with a merger with UNIVEG. It is now a global source of the complete citrus category and within the last year has expanded to bring customers more commodities of produce including grapes, pears, and many stone fruit commodities.

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Lisa Packer
Root Strategies
lisa@rootstrat.com
(610)688-3164 office
(215)460-8333
www.rootstrat.com