Somerset West resident, Buks Nel, was recognised as agriculturist of the year for his contribution to agriculture, in the Agricultural Writers SA’s farmer, agriculturist and new entrant to commercial agriculture awards, held in Pretoria on Friday November 15.
Although Mr 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, Mr Nel 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 a 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 managing director, Roelf Pienaar, says the company has long been proud of Mr 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,” Mr Pienaar says.