SOUTH AFRICA – The South Africa Olive Industry Association (SA Olive) has appointed Wendy Petersen to replace Vittoria Jooste as CEO effective 1st October 2023.

SA Olive is an association representing the common interests of the South African olive industry whose members extend from olive growers, olive oil producers, table olive producers, tree nurseries, and olive importers.

Joining the team at the top, Petersen brings her 30 years of experience in the South African wine industry and headed up the position of executive manager for the South African Wine Industry Transformation Unit over the last five years.

Accepting the role, Petersen said that she believes that through collaborations with industry leaders, government, and stakeholders, the South African olive industry is well positioned to benefit from growth within the local and global markets.

“I am delighted, honored, and humbled to join such a well-established and well-led organization,” she noted.

Richard Allen, the association’s chairman praised the ongoing CEO Vittoria Jooste, for her dedication and commitment, noting that during her reign, she took the association to new heights and has provided a solid platform for Wendy.

The production and consumption of olives and olive oil have recorded a trajectory rise in South Africa in the recent past.

However, most olive farming in South Africa takes place on small areas of farmland. Earlier, the ongoing CEO of SA Olive, Vittoria Jooste had revealed that almost half of the 200 registered olive growers produce the fruit on fewer than 5ha.

South Africa is famous for its wines but not necessarily for olive oil, where Greece, Italy, and Spain are the undisputed kings.

But, recently, the country’s farmers are eyeing a potential share of the lucrative market for top-quality extra virgin oils.

During the recently held SA Olive Awards 2023 that took place at the picturesque Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl on Friday, 8th of September, Richard Allen, the association’s chairman noted that despite a challenging agricultural season, actors in the olive sector are willing to remain robust in the market.

This year has been particularly challenging for our producers due to a poor harvest that saw considerably lower yields – and, by the way, this was experienced by all olive-growing countries around the world this year.”

He also highlighted that other factors such as load-shedding negatively affected the industry but he commended local Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) producers for continuing to deliver amazing quality products.

“Despite the challenges, we received a total of 82 entries from 32 producers. SA Olive is both proud and delighted to represent our South African producers and to showcase their top-quality, locally produced EVOOs.”

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube channel.