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Tru-Cape congratulates Henk Griessel on award

Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing is South Africa’s largest exporter of apples and pears. Tru-Cape’s Quality Assurance Manager, Henk Griessel, was recognised by the South African fruit-industry body, Hortgro, for his more than 25-years commitment to raising the quality bar in commercial fruit production with the Daan Strydom Science and Technology Award.

At a gala event on June 6, 2023, held in Stellenbosch, he received the award to industry applause.

Event emcee, Hortgro’s Hugh Campbell, said that the first Daan Strydom Research and Technical prize was awarded to Henk Griessel in recognition and appreciation of a career dedicated to the deciduous fruit industry in the field of post-harvest quality of pome fruit.

Hortgro described Griessel, Quality Assurance Manager, at Tru-Cape, as a true industry servant who tirelessly and selflessly over many years provided direction and key technical and strategic input to various industry workgroups and advisory committees that determine research needs and priorities and assisted with the evaluation of the outcomes and results of research projects.

“Griessel’s expertise includes technical requirements of exporting deciduous fruit; post-harvest storage and handling of fruit; deciduous fruit production; quality systems; managing intellectual property rights of plant material; propagation of woody perennials and greenhouse production.

“Over the years, his career made several pit stops and journeyed into academics where he lectured in horticulture for four years at Stellenbosch University, before he joined Unifruco and later Kromco/Tru-Cape as Quality Control Manager. The list of his academic publications is too long to mention here. But many colleagues can attest to Griessel’s ardent contribution and devotion to quality fruit produced for the deciduous fruit industry. Griessel has been an advisor to the Hortgro Science post-harvest programme since 2004”, says Hortgro.

Tru-Cape’s Managing Director, Roelf Pienaar, says that Tru-Cape has always been proud of Henk Griessel’s contribution. “In his role as Quality Manager he has to have daily and often difficult conversations with growers, packers, marketers and end-user customers – with each one having a slightly different focus. His is the ultimate diplomatic role in the Tru-Cape value chain and it is because of his long-standing history and expertise in the industry, and knowledge of pre-and-post-harvest treatments, that Henk is asked for input at every level. Growers want to know what to plant and when and which pre-harvest treatments are recommended. Packers want to know about the latest in packaging materials and how to move away from single-use plastics, technicians responsible for prolonging the shelf-life of the fruit want his input on post-harvest treatment, storage temperatures and controlling atmosphere percentages. Marketers want to reduce the number and value of quality claims and the end consumer wants him to answer queries about apples trees in their own gardens or to explain why their apples go brown when cut. Henk, along with a quality team that reports to him, manages all this with grace and efficiency. And, despite significant health concerns, Henk continues to also develop the industry beyond his job description. Together with Buks Nel he has authored three industry books. He was instrumental in developing the Tru-Cape Heritage Orchard and its popular open-day. Together with Nel and Hortgro he also led the effort to have South Africa’s oldest recorded apple tree, The Wijnappel, returned to South African soil.

When he was running fit he encouraged Tru-Cape to support trail runs and for many years he was key in the Tru-Cape inter-packhouse challenge race which, before Covid, attracted 5,000 entrants. This award from Hortgro and the1662 Award from Hortgro which he received in 2021 make his already proud and grateful Tru-Cape team even more so,” ends Pienaar.

See and for information about all the given awards.

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