Tru-Cape’s New Variety Specialist, Buks Nel, is 2019’s Agriculturist of the Year.

Buks Nel with his Bigbucks (Flash Gala) apples (002)
Buks Nel with his Bigbucks (Flash Gala) apples

Somerset West resident Buks Nel was recognised for his outstanding contribution to agriculture in the Agricultural Writers SA’s Farmer, Agriculturist and New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture awards, held in Pretoria on November 15.

Nick Serfontein from the Free State has been named the Farmer of the Year and Dirk Louw from the Northern Cape is the New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture Award winner.

Although Buks Nel is an industry and globally recognised expert on Integrated Pest Management, he went on to focus on new and improved cultivar development at Tru-Cape. At present he is the New Variety Specialist at Tru-Cape, where he has worked since its inception in 2001.

After many years of walking orchards, Buks received the Plant Breeder’s Rights for the improved Gala and Fuji strains, Bigbucks and Fuji Royal.

While looking ahead to the new, he has also made an enormous contribution to finding and preserving old apple and pear varieties – including heading the search (with Tru-Cape colleague Henk Griessel) for the first recorded apple at the Cape.

Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing is the largest exporter of South African apples and pears. Managing director Roelf Pienaar says the company has long been proud of Buks Nel’s veteran status in the fruit industry. “This award now recognises what we at Tru-Cape and many around the globe already know that Buks Nel is not only a treasured asset but a true friend and champion of the fruit industry. Our heartiest congratulations.” Pienaar says.

The event, sponsored by Bayer, Rovic Leers, Santam Agri and Sanlam gives recognition to the work of those that seek to elevate food security and rural economies.