Hein Gerber

Hein Gerber

Hein studied Marketing Management at Boland College.  After working abroad (England, Germany, Ireland, USA) for three years, he returned to study at Stellenbosch University and completed a BSc Agric degree with Soil Science and Horticulture as major subjects, followed by a MSc Agric (cum laude) in Horticulture.  During his studies, Hein worked at the Soil Science department on a part time basis, doing field and lab work and in his final study year lectured a module on Pomology to third year students at Elsenburg College.

After completion of his studies, Hein joined Farmsecure Agriscience (FAS) as Horticulturist, specializing on citrus production practices.  During his time at FAS, he consulted to citrus growers in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces as well as abroad in Egypt and Argentina.

In 2014 Hein and Jennilyn started First Fruits Consulting (FFC). FFC focusses expressly on citrus, with the aim to be able to provide specialist advice on production practices to citrus producers locally and abroad.

Hein is a Professional Natural Scientist with SACNASP since 2012.   He completed his AVCASA certification in 2014.

Jennilyn Gerber

Jennilyn Gerber

Jennilyn completed a BSc degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 2008.

She was later employed as a technical assistant at Farmsecure Agriscience for the citrus team.  During this time she assisted with administration, technical data, setting up of nutrition programmes and field work.

Jennilyn and Hein started Firstfruits Consulting in 2014 where she initially headed up the technical, administration and financial departments.  She is currently a director of Firstfruits Farming and Project Manager at Firstfruits Consulting, as well as a mother of 3 girls.

 

 

 

Eugenie-Lien Louw

Eugenie Louw

Eugenie worked as data capturer at ColorsFruit for a year after matric where she became interested in horticulture. She obtained her BSc Agric degree (cum laude) in Horticultural Science and Soil Science in 2007 at Stellenbosch University. During study holidays, Eugenie worked for table grape growers in Augrabies and for EuraFruit in Stellenbosch. She went on to complete her MSc Agric (cum laude) in Horticultural Science with a focus on protea in March 2010. During her MSc she lectured plant propagation to second year students at Stellenbosch University and post-harvest physiology to third year students at Elsenburg Agricultural College.

After working for Ocean Agriculture for 18 months as fertilizer consultant she joined the team at Arnelia Farms, a Proteaceae and Chamelaucium cut flower farm and nursery, as Technical Manager. While working she completed her PhD in Horticultural Science on growth manipulations of Leucospermum cut flowers in 2019.

Eugenie completed her AVCASA certification in 2019.

Eugenie is now part of FFC as Operational Manager, Protea and Citrus consultant.

Du Toit Prins

Du Toit Prins

Du Toit Prins has recently joined FirstFruits Consulting as a soil scientist and citrus consultant.

He grew up with a love for agriculture from a young age due to the influence of his grandfather, who farmed outside Stellenbosch. He started his agricultural training at Stellenbosch University by obtaining his BSc Agric in Soil Science and Horticultural Science in 2015. In 2018 he completed his MSc Agric degree in Horticultural Science evaluating shade netting in citrus production. After he completed his studies, Du Toit started working as a technical manager for a prominent citrus producing company. He formed part of a technical team involved with integrated pest and disease management, irrigation scheduling, fertilization, crop manipulations and new orchard designs in Citrusdal, the Sandveld and Lutzville. His passion for agricultural science and farming led to the next step in his career and he joined the FFC team.

Du Toit is excited to continue adding value to the citrus industry through sound scientific advice to enable the production of high-quality citrus fruit.

JD Botma

JD Botma

JD Botma grew up in Vanrhynsdorp and from a young age loved being outdoors and surrounded by nature. He realised in high school that he was interested in agriculture and decided to study agriculture. He obtained a BSc Agric degree from Stellenbosch University in 2018 majoring in Horticulture and Soil Science.

JD started his career at an agricultural consultancy company as Soil Scientist, where he deepened his knowledge of soil classification, soil mapping, irrigation systems and soil preparation. JD worked all over South Africa, as well as in some African countries and got exposure to a lot of different soil types and climates and was able see how different types of fruit trees react under different circumstances.

JD seized the opportunity to work as a consultant for First Fruits Consulting to be able to apply his knowledge of soil and horticulture in order to be an asset to citrus farmers in every possibly way.

 

 

Christine Siems

Christine Siems

Christine has been an employee of Firstfruits Consulting since 2015.

She matriculated in 2010 from Augsburg Agricultural Gymnasium in Clanwilliam and received her BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology degree from Stellenbosch University in 2014. She has interests in research, microbiology and biological control of pests, and completed her AVCASA certification in 2017. She is also a Candidate Natural Scientist with SACNASP since 2017.

Christine is the Technical Manager at FFC where she receives all the client data, processes it and manages the analysis scheme. She started as a crop protection consultant in 2018 and has started specialising in biological control.

 

 

 

Sibongiseni Silwana

Sibongiseni Silwana

Sibongiseni completed a 4-year BSc. Agric (Soil / Agron) degree followed by a BSc Agric honours degree in Soil Science at the University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape at the end of 2014. He later completed a MSc. Agric (Agron) degree at Stellenbosch University, graduating in 2019.

Sibongiseni worked as Technical Assistant for 3 years at Stellenbosch University department of Agronomy, from 2015 until 2017, during which time his MSc studies started.  He was responsible for conducting field trials and overseeing soil and water analysis.

In 2018, Sibongiseni worked as a Junior Soil Science Researcher at Woodlands dairy farms in Humansdorp where his responsibilities included, amongst others, monitoring water use efficiency, optimising effluent management strategies, irrigation scheduling, soil sampling using a Geo-probe and fertilizer recommendations.

Sibongiseni decided to move back to the Western Cape, where he joined Bosman Adama wine farm in Wellington as Soil Scientist. His responsibilities included soil health improvement using cover crops, interpretation of soil test results, soil classification and vine nutrition.

Sibongiseni joined Firstfruits Consulting as Precision Services Technician in 2019, where he is responsible for precision (grid) soil sampling, fruit measurements, leaf and water sampling, GIS mapping, drone flights and data processing.

Sibongiseni is a Candidate Natural Scientist with SACNASP since 2015 and is a member of the Soil Science Society of South Africa.

Dirk Klaase

Dirk Klaase

 

Dirk Klaase joined our Precision Farming team in 2019 as Precision Services Technician.  Dirk was previously a citrus farm manager and has gained valuable experience in citrus production practices.  Dirk excels in leadership roles and manages the execution of infield precision services.

 

 

 

 

 

Jorika Cronje

Jorika CronjeJorika Cronje obtained a degree in soil science and a MScAgric degree in Horticulture from the University of Stellenbosch. She started her career at Agricultural Consultors International (ACIcc), later owned by Farmsecure, where she worked for eight years as soil scientist and horticulturist. In 2014, Jorika decided to combine her love for agriculture and her experience of the field to continue as an independent consultant that specializes in soil science and horticulture.

Jorika is experienced in soil classification and new orchard development as well as crop related technical advice for pome and stone fruit, table grapes, vineyards, citrus and alternative crops.  Jorika consulted to growers in Turkish citrus production regions for 3 years.  During this time she assisted with training of technical advisors from Turkey, Argentina and Chile.

Jorika consults to Firstfruits Consulting stone fruit clients, as well as conducting soil surveys and compiling new orchard development reports.

Jorika is registered as a Professional Natural Scientist with SACNASP since 2013.

Nico Wasserall

Nico Wasseral

Nico Wasserall obtained a degree in B.Sc Conservation Ecology with soil science and a M.Sc. Agric degree in Soil Science from the University of Stellenbosch.

He started his career at Farmsecure as a member of the precision soil science team, where he worked for one year before working at Agrimotion for 3 years.

In 2017, Nico decided to start Agri-Infinitum with the main objective to add value through scientific principles and practical advice to clients and farmers in the fruit industry. Using a holistic approach through the integration of scientific principles and practical solutions, the most sustainable and economically viable outcome for the client is identified.

An independent approach enables Nico to partner with the necessary organizations and people required to ensure the optimal outcome is achieved.

Nico focuses on the planning of new orchards with a focus on soil potential and practical management techniques to ensure optimal production can be achieved.

As strategic partner to Firstfruits Consulting, Nico conducts soil surveys and compiles new orchard development reports for Firstfruits Consulting clients.

Nico is registered as a Professional Natural Scientist with SACNASP since 2016 and is a member of Fertasa and the Soil Science Society of South Africa.

Bernhard Treptow

Bernhard Treptow

Bernhard obtained a BSc Agric degree majoring in Horticulture and Botany as well as a Teacher Diploma at University of Pretoria. After teaching for two years in Mpumalanga he furthered his studies at Stellenbosch University in Plant Physiology and Horticultural Sciences.

A short spell at Elsenburg College and Research Farm was followed by 20 years as technical manager with Kromco in Grabouw. Extensive experience with deciduous fruit trees was gained during this time that was followed by fruit business consultation locally as well as in South America. Intimate knowledge of the fruit business in Chile was obtained while consulting in that country over 13 years.

During the 1990s he also held a director’s position in a leading South African plant development company. In 1999 he was invited to become part of Unifrutti South Africa that culminated in the position of CEO. The main focus during this time moved from deciduous to citrus fruit and table grapes. Presently he still continues in an advisory position for Unifrutti as well as a renewed involvement with a few leading pome fruit producers.

Bernhard is involved with FirstFruits Consulting in an advisory role and as a mentor to management, contributing his vast fruit industry experience, management expertise and strategic thinking.