The Department of Trade Industry in South Africa, with support from CBI and ProFound, organised the first National Conference on Natural Ingredients on the 17th and 18th of November in Pretoria. The conference brought together companies operating in the sector, including raw material producers, processors, exporters and final product manufacturers with representatives from the public sector and academia. In sessions with key speakers and panel discussions, the 180 participants discussed opportunities and actions at different levels of the value chain and looked at the business enabling environment.
Together with CBI institutional development consultant Jim Tersteeg, ProFound consultant Robbie Hogervorst provided key support in terms of strategy and content development, speaker selection and guidance. Furthermore, he moderated sessions on sustainable sourcing, processing and commercialisation to identify and strategize action points together with the panellists. He brought in key insights from earlier South African strategic conferences held in December 2014 and February 2015, where the sector was brought together at regional levels. He provided a presentation showing how both South African and EU legislation are based on similar international guidelines, treaties and standards to facilitate international trade in ingredients.
In a follow up round table, a select group of stakeholders considered the outcomes of the conference. In break-out sessions they identified priority issues and solutions for sector development. These outcomes will be analysed and used to provide input for a draft export strategy for the South African natural ingredients sector in early 2016. Key is to broaden the public sector involvement to ministries active at the raw material production level.