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The biannual Hortgro Technical Symposium is the South African deciduous fruit industry’s primary and showpiece technology transfer event.

Why should you attend?

Over the four days of the symposium, more than 750 fruit growers, technical advisors, researchers, fruit exporters and individuals involved in the broader deciduous fruit value chain will be exposed to a wide range of presentations; from the strategic and inspirational to the practical and applicable.

High-profile change-makers like the Stormers head coach, John Dobson, Gift of the Givers CEO Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, political commentator and academic Prof. William Gumede, Privilege Foundation COO Barend la Grange, leading macro-logistics researcher Prof. Jan Havenga, and former Eskom CEO and current senior fellow at Yale André de Ruyter will present their insights and perspectives on the business/strategy day themed: Stronger Together; Strength in Diversity.

What will you learn?

Sessions on the two technical days will address aspects that directly affect growers like plant material and cultivars, the loss of chemicals, phytosanitary and biosecurity principles, optimising planting systems and rootstocks. A whole session, including a panel discussion, will be dedicated to pear production while a high-tech farming session will explain technologies like machine learning, remote sensing, and digital twins.

Networking nexus

Attendees will have the opportunity to converse with Markus Bradlwarter, Executive Director of the Variety Innovation Consortium South Tyrol, and experienced horticultural consultant Craig Hornblow from AgFirst in New Zealand. Online presentations will be presented by Prof. Gennaro Fazio, breeder of the Geneva rootstocks, biopesticide specialist Dr Roma Gwynn from AgBioScout in Scotland, Prof. Vaughn Walton, expert on spotted-wing Drososphila at the Oregon State University, Prof Shannon Lynch, polyphagous shot-hole borer expert at the University of California Davis, and Prof. Lee Kalcsits, Endowed Chair of tree fruit environmental physiology and management at Washington State University.


The Hortgro Technical Symposium 2024 will inspire, inform, motivate, enlighten, stimulate, and create the opportunity to connect with friends and acquaintances, broaden work networks, and reflect and reassess the road ahead. It provides direction and hope for the future.

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Any other queries, please contact Lindy Sigonyela:

Details about the event

This year, the symposium (3 – 6 June 2024) will take the form of a business strategy day, two technical days — held at the Lord Charles Conference Room in Somerset West — and a pome fruit field day in Ceres. The stone fruit field day, in the form of a Stone Fruit Seminar and Orchard Walk, will take place on 12 November 2024 in the Little Karoo. (NOTE: Stone Fruit Field Day registrations will open 1 October 2024).


  • 3 June: Business Strategy Day @ R1200 (incl. VAT)
  • 4 June: Technical Day 1 @ R1200 (incl. VAT)
  • 5 June: Technical Day 2 @ R1200 (incl. VAT)
  • 6 June: Pome Fruit Field Day (Ceres) @ R450 (incl. VAT)
  • 12 November: Stone Fruit Seminar and Orchard Walk (Little Karoo) @ R450 (incl. VAT)


Registrations closed 22 May 2024. Please see terms and conditions of our cancellation policy on registration page.

Bio’s of Speakers


Prof. William M. Gumede is based at the School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand and Founder & Executive Chairman of the Democracy Works Foundation, now based in eight countries.  He teaches a development programme for members of the South African National Executive and is a member of the High-Level Task Team advising government on the restructuring and professionalization of the South African public service.


Barend La Grange is the chief operating officer (COO) of Privilege Foundation and former COO of the South Africa Day. The initiative creates a platform for citizens, businesses and government to work together to participate in building a better South Africa and creating new optimism for the future of the country.


John Dobson is the Head Coach and Director of Rugby at the DHL Stormers. He has been instrumental in rebuilding a bankrupt sporting team, lying second last in the United Rugby Championship (URC) in December 2021 to becoming the most successful team in the URC’s brief existence. Other than being an esteemed coach, Dobson is a successful businessman and published author of two popular works of fiction and holds five University degrees.


Prof. Jan Havenga is an experienced lecturer, market researcher, macrologistics researcher and consultant, strategic and change management specialist and corporate strategy and marketing expert. He is also a National Research Foundation rated researcher, based on his consistent contribution to freight flow and logistics cost measurement to inform national policy development, infrastructure planning and rail renaissance and development of the new field of Macrologistics


Dr Imtiaz Sooliman is the founder of Gift of the Givers, Africa’s largest independent humanitarian organisation. Formerly a doctor, Sooliman heeded a calling to help others and left the medical world to start the organisation. He is driven by the same basic principles that led to his becoming a medical doctor: respect, care, professionalism and dedication but humanitarianism is where his passion lies.


André de Ruyter, has more than 30 years of global business experience in the energy sector, the last decade of which he has spent in various senior executive roles, including Group Chief Executive of Eskom. New African Magazine has nominated De Ruyter as one of its top 100 most influential Africans for 2023.  He has written a best-selling book about his experience at Eskom, entitled “Truth to Power”, which was chosen by The Guardian of London as one of its top five global books, currently he is lecturing at Yale University.


Pome Fruit Field Day and Stone Fruit Seminar and Orchard Walk

The pome fruit field day, organised by Dutoit Agri’s Pome Fruit Technical Advisor , Willie Kotze, will pull on the expertise of leading technical advisors in the Warm and Koue Bokkeveld to put together a programme that will provoke ample discussion among the 300+ attendees and set new standards of production and orchard management for apple and pear growers to strive for.

The stone fruit seminar and orchard walk provide the opportunity to focus on aspects specific to stone fruit production. Moving the day from June to November will allow attendees to see fruit on the tree and have discussions about issues that are more relevant to the growing season. More information about this event will be made available later this year.

NOTE: Registrations for Stone Fruit Field Day (Little Karoo) will open 1 October 2024.


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Sponsor us

At Hortgro we value making information accessible and to keep the cost as low as possible for our agricultural stakeholders, we invite you to sponsor our technical symposium. Sponsorships are critical and will enable the organisers to design an affordable, relevant and cutting-edge programme, which includes local and international experts. We can’t do it without you.

Would you like to become a sponsor?

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